Annual Review of Language Acquisition: Volume 1 (2001)
  • ISSN 1568-1467
  • E-ISSN: 1569-965X
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The relationship is examined between two different domains of lexical development: innovative compounding and access to abstract lexical relations. The creation of novel compounds as appropriate labels for novel concepts requires the accessibility of relatively abstract relations between word meanings in the mental lexicon. In a picture naming task in which novel concepts have to be labeled (e.g., a vehicle that can both sail and drive) children’s production of appropriate novel compounds (e.g., car-boat) increases with age. This compound production is, independently of age, related to children’s ability to access coordinate lexical relations (such as between cat and dog) in a contrastive word association task (‘a cat is not a...?’). It is proposed that this connection between innovative compounding and access to coordinate relations is cognitive in nature and involves a common ability for lexical comparisons. Innovative compounding reflects comparison ‘on the spot’ between the novel concept and available related word meaning knowledge, and contrastive coordinate production reflects the results of developmentally earlier comparison processes evoked by adult contrastive input.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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