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Toddler language learning: Richer and more complicated than you might think

The Conversation – Katherine White

When you consider how children learn words, you might think of this kind of scenario: an adult points to an object (for example, a dog), clearly says a word in isolation (dog!), and the child immediately understands what the word means. Almost everything about this scenario is wrong! The meaning of a word is not obvious. Most words occur in longer sentences without any spaces before or after them, which means that where a word begins or ends is not clear. And children work out the meanings of words over a longer period of time, rather than all at once. (more)

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