Mind and Language 17 (1&2):37–54 (2002)
There are two facts about word learning that everyone accepts. The ﬁrst is that words really do have to be learned. There is controversy over how much conceptual structure and linguistic knowledge is innate, but nobody thinks that this is the case for the speciﬁc mappings between sounds (or signs) and meanings. This is because these mappings vary arbitrarily from culture to culture. No matter how intelligent a British baby is, for instance, she still has to learn, by attending to the language of the people around her, that rabbits are called ‘rabbits’, that sleeping is called ‘sleeping’, and so on.
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