ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Bidirectional Proposition

How We Learn Words

Conventional wisdom suggests that children acquire complex words from simple words and treat words as an assemblage of segmented meanings. Through examples, the author suggests that word formation strategies do not follow this rule; words are bidirectionally related and this has important consequences for pedagogy.

As compared to the received wisdom about them, Rajendra Singh and some of his colleagues argued for an alternative view about words and their relatedness. The world of words in language is very differently organised than that of sounds and sentences. At the level of sounds, one is interested in how a finite set of sounds is put together to create a large number of words in a rule-governed fashion; similarly, at the level of sentences, we try to examine how a set of words is put together to form a sentence according to the rules of language. Rules of sounds and sentence construction apply across the board but not of words.

Learning Words

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