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How do children acquire the meaning of words? And why are words such as know harder for learners to acquire than words such as dog or jump? We suggest that the chief limiting factor in acquiring the vocabulary of natural languages consists not in overcoming conceptual difficulties with abstract word meanings but rather in mapping these meanings onto their corresponding lexical forms. This opening premise of our position, while controversial, is shared with some prior approaches. The present discussion moves forward from there to a detailed proposal for how the mapping problem for the lexicon is solved, as well as a presentation of experimental findings that support this account. We describe an overlapping series of steps through which novices move in representing the lexical forms and phrase structures of the exposure language, a probabilistic multiple-cue learning process known as syntactic bootstrapping. The machinery is set in motion by word-to-world pairing, a procedure available to novices from the..
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Associationist Theories of Thought.Eric Mandelbaum - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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