Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Lexical acquisition in naturalistic contexts
Author: Best, Rachel.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3462 4960
Awarding Body: South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2003
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The thesis investigates ways in which young children acquire meanings of novel words. Various accounts of word learning postulate that the nature of the word exposure context plays a crucial role in supporting lexical acquisition (e.g. Clark. 1997; Nelson, 1988). Children are sensitive to a range of input, such as syntactic cues (Gleitman, 1990), gestures (Kobayashi, 1997) and verbal explanations of word meaning (Dickinson, 1984). The present research aimed to further our understanding of types of word exposure that help children acquire novel words, by examining the process of lexical acquisition in naturalistic contexts. The research was carried out in an educational context; the emphasis was on vocabulary acquisition in the classroom and children's acquisition of science terms, commonly encountered at school. The range of knowledge children acquired about word meanings was assessed using a variety of lexical tasks (e.g. production and comprehension tasks). The research was divided into three phases. Phase 1 focused on the measurement of lexical knowledge. It considered the ways in which drawing-based tasks tap lexical knowledge. Phase 2 evaluated the importance of the word exposure context in lexical acquisition by investigating children's learning of words that were classed as 'difficult' to learn. Finally, phase 3 explored different kinds of word introduction that help children acquire word meanings. This phase of the research was conducted in classroom settings. Drawing assessments were found to make an important contribution to the assessment of lexical knowledge. Findings from phases 2 and 3 showed that ways in which novel words are introduced plays a crucial role in supporting lexical acquisition, and also the range of vocabulary knowledge children acquire (e.g. production and comprehension). Types of exposure that help children acquire words in classroom contexts were identified. The results are discussed in relation to implications for teaching practice and an account of lexical acquisition
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Word learning