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Development of Lexicon

Leave a Comment When we speak about lexicon, we usually mean the number of words we know, but lexicon is actually much broader. There is a lot to learn about every word before the word becomes part of our lexicon. First we must learn phonology word pronunciation, then we should acquire the knowledge of how to combine this word with other words grammar, and of course we should know what the word means definition of the word. Put all together the words and the knowledge about the word comprise human mental lexicon. It is quite a lot for a baby to learn, isnt it? Every child is a unique personality as well as a unique learner, so the pace of his lexical development can vary greatly from his peers no matter whether the child is bilingual or monolingual. However the collected data on the lexical development allowed researchers to point out certain stages that children on average follow. Formation of lexicon follows approximately the same pattern in both bilingual and monolingual acquisition. Bilingual babies produce their first words at about the same age as their monolingual peers 12 13 months old, their vocabulary growth is within the same rate as monolingual childrens as long as both languages are considered for bilinguals, though research shows that the amount of exposure to each language can affect the size of vocabulary in every language of a bilingual. The studies into category development show that there must be a universal sequence from nouns to verbs and adjectives, though verbs and adjectives emerge earlier and grow faster in comprehension than production. Vocabulary growth is initially quite slow. Your child might say one or two new words a week and then all of a sudden his production speeds up to 9 new words a day. This vocabulary explosion that happens to monolinguals at about 18 months of age is true for bilinguals too. Some linguists point out the significance of this moment in a childs development. Thierry Nazzi (htpp://lpp.psycho.univ-paris5.fr/PDF/1381.PDF) suggests that there are actually two different modes of word acquisition before and after the vocabulary spurt. He argues that what a child produces before are proto-words, while genuine words appear with the vocabulary spurt. The important thing is the mechanism that underlies the acquisition of these two types of words. Proto-words are acquired through pairing underspecified sound forms to objects that are simultaneously and repeatedly presented to a child. Put simply, after a series of repeated presentations a child remembers that this particular sound form is linked to this particular object. This can be shown in a very early age (see Early Word Learning). What happens with the vocabulary spurt is the immediate pairing of phonetically specified sound form to an object that has been unnamed before, so that the child knows the meaning of the word. The average 20 words at this age can grow to approximately 200 words when the child is 21 months old. In this interval the child starts combining two words. Syntax and grammar can be observed as early as at the age of two when you can expect your child to begin producing three or four word sentences that may break the rules of syntax but still follow some logics. Basic grammar such as endings can be applied as well.

Complex sentences with relative clauses can appear in the childs speech at around three years of age. At 5 the childs speech is quite close to the adults one. Average is the clue word for what have been said. The variation at 24 months can be from under 50 to over 600 words. Your child can be faster or slower than average . As long as he is healthy it doesnt matter because eventually he will catch up.