Acquiring new word meaning: What does it tell us about development

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R. J. Sternberg (1984, Developmental Review, 4, 113-138) offers a thoughtful and provocative essay on how individuals acquire meanings for novel or unfamiliar nouns. The Sternberg essay, however, is incomplete on a number of grounds. By stressing general processes and specific knowledge as critical components in the acquisition of verbal concepts, for example, it overlooks two logically complementary categories-specific processes and general knowledge-and the role these play in the acquisitions in question. A second concern is that the paper blurs distinctions among development, short-term learning, and the origin/acquisition of individual differences. Finally, Sternberg is encouraged to frame the specific phenomenon described here within the context of a larger theory of intellectual development and to indicate what else this specific model can be used to explain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1984


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