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Session Type: Paper Symposium
The organization of words into a lexical-semantic network underlies our ability to process language fluently and efficiently, and yet only recently have researchers begun to study lexical-semantic relationships in early development. The four papers in this symposium examine the developmental factors and mechanisms behind lexical-semantic networks in toddlers (papers 1 & 2) and how these networks influence early language processing and word learning (papers 3 & 4).
Paper 1 uses an auditory priming task with mono and bilinguals to show that semantic relationships between English words are stronger for 24-month-olds with larger English vocabularies and more exposure to English. Paper 2 employs an event-related potential task to demonstrate that French-Spanish bilingual toddlers use similar neural mechanisms to process word familiarity, but distinct mechanisms for lexical-semantic associations in each of their languages. Paper 3 shows that English-learning 18-month-olds’ lexical processing, as measured with eye-tracking, is facilitated when the target word is from a dense semantic category network, and also that only toddlers with higher vocabularies experience interference from related distractors. Paper 4 uses an intermodal priming procedure to show that semantic priming is stronger for words from high-density networks in German toddlers, while also investigating whether semantic category density affects novel word learning. Notably, each paper uses a unique method and language group, allowing for cross-linguistic and cross-task generalization and integration. Together, these papers push forward our understanding of early lexical-semantic relationships, uncovering the mechanisms behind and effects of these networks in the first years of life.
The effect of vocabulary size and language exposure on the emergence of monolingual and bilingual toddlers’ semantic networks - Presenting Author: Erica Wojcik, Skidmore College; Janet Werker, University of British Columbia
Do similar or distinct neural mechanisms underlie lexical-semantic processing in both languages of the bilingual children? - Presenting Author: Pia Rämä, Université Paris Descartes; Louah Sirri, Lancaster University
Beyond lexical bean counting: using semantic structure in vocabulary to understand language processing - Presenting Author: Arielle Borovsky, Florida State University; Ryan E Peters, Florida State University
Category-based word learning in toddlers - Presenting Author: Sarah Eiteljörge, University of Göttingen; Olga Kriukova, University of Göttingen; Nivedita Mani, University of Göttingen