Learning Word Meaning From Dictionary Definitions: Sensorimotor Induction Precedes Verbal Instruction

Almost all words are the names of categories. We can learn most of our words (and hence our categories) from dictionary definitions, but not all of them. Some have to be learned from direct experience. To understand a word from its definition we need to already understand the words used in the definition. This is the “Symbol Grounding Problem” [1]. How many words (and which ones) do we need to ground directly in sensorimotor experience in order to be able to learn all other words via definition alone? The answer may shed some light both on the developmental origin of word meanings and on the evolutionary origin and adaptive value of language. We used an algorithm to reduce each of our dictionaries (Longmans LDOCE, Cambridge CIDE and WordNet) to its “grounding kernel” (“Kernel”) (which turned out to be about 10% of the dictionary) by systematically eliminating..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,209
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Paul Bloom (2001). Précis of How Children Learn the Meanings of Words. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1095-1103.
Sam Scott (2001). The Other Way to Learn the Meaning of a Word. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1117-1118.
Paul Bloom (2001). Controversies in the Study of Word Learning. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1124-1130.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

30 ( #158,699 of 1,941,073 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #334,045 of 1,941,073 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.