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The Psychology of Word Meanings

Book Description

This volume contains perspectives from a collection of cognitive scientists on the psychological, philosophical, and educational issues surrounding the meanings of words and how these meanings are learned and accessed. It features chapters covering the nature and structure of word meaning, how new word meanings are acquired in childhood and later on in life, and how research in word processing may tell us something about the way in which word meanings are represented and how they relate to the language processor.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Halftitle
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. Contributors
  7. Preface
  8. An Introduction to the Psychology of Word Meaning
    1. Overview of the Chapters
    2. Emerging Themes in the Psychology of Word Meaning
    3. References
  9. 1. Meaning and Concepts
    1. Semantic Theories
    2. The Representation of Meaning
    3. Empirical Evidence
    4. Starting to Build a Model
    5. Remaining Philosophical Problems
    6. References
  10. 2. Word Meaning and Word Use
    1. Introduction
    2. Some Observations About the Functions of Nouns
    3. Some New Data on the Extensions of Common English Nouns
    4. Similarity and Intension: Some Implications from Extension
    5. Conclusion
    6. References
  11. 3. Cross-Cultural Aspects of Word Meanings
    1. Universal or Culture-Specific Theories of Word Meaning?
    2. Cross-Cultural Variations in the Structure of Word Meaning
    3. Factors that Might Account for Cross-Cultural Variations in Word Meaning
    4. A Cross-Cultural Conclusion
    5. References
  12. 4. The Combination of Prototype Concepts
    1. Prototype Theory—A Formalization
    2. Prototype Theory—The Evidence
    3. Combining Concepts
    4. Experimental Evidence
    5. Noun-Noun Compounds
    6. Relative Clause Conjunctions
    7. Disjunction
    8. Negation
    9. An Inheritance Model for Composite Prototypes
    10. The Composite Prototype Model
    11. Evidence for the Model
    12. Overextension and Dominance
    13. Noncompositional Effects
    14. Final Remarks—Testing Concepts to Destruction
    15. Conclusion
    16. References
  13. 5. Predicating and Nonpredicating Combinations
    1. Predicating Adjectives
    2. The Modification Model
    3. Complications for the Modification Model
    4. Combinations and Their “Simple” Counterparts
    5. Nonpredicating Adjectives
    6. Relations Among Components
    7. The Complexity Hypothesis
    8. The Typicality Hypothesis
    9. Processing Nonpredicating Combinations
    10. The Relation Between Predicating and Nonpredicating Combinations
    11. References
  14. 6. Learning Word Meanings from Definitions: Problems and Potential
    1. A Lexicographic Context for Research on Definitions
    2. Definition Problems and Solutions
    3. Testing the Effectiveness of Definitions
    4. Beyond Revising and Testing Definitions
    5. A Final Comment
    6. References
  15. 7. Beyond the Instrumentalist Hypothesis: Some Relationships Between Word Meanings and Comprehension
    1. Word Meaning, Orthography, and Context
    2. Differences in Contexts
    3. Differences Among Words
    4. Differences Between Readers
    5. As a Word is Learned
    6. Vocabulary Knowledge and Comprehension
    7. Implications for Vocabulary Instruction
    8. Four Hypotheses
    9. References
  16. 8. On the Early Influence of Meaning in Word Recognition: A Review of the Literature
    1. Lexical Decision, Pronunciation, and Threshold Identification: The Tools of the Trade
    2. The Contribution of Meaning to Word Identification: A Review of the Literature
    3. General Discussion
    4. Conclusion
    5. References
  17. 9. Why are Abstract Concepts Hard to Understand?
    1. Are Abstract Words Harder to Understand than Concrete Words?
    2. Theories for Why Abstract Words are Hard to Understand
    3. Conclusion
    4. References
  18. 10. Interpretation of Word Meanings by the Cerebral Hemispheres: One is Not Enough
    1. Introduction
    2. Cerebral Asymmetry for Language
    3. Word Recognition in the Intact Hemispheres
    4. Semantic Priming in Left and Right Hemispheres
    5. Hemispheric Processing of Word Meanings: A Synthesis
    6. Semantic Interpretation in RH-Lesioned Patients
    7. Semantic Processing Without the Right Hemisphere: A Conjecture
    8. Conclusion
    9. References
  19. Author Index
  20. Subject Index