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How Children Learn to Learn Language$
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Lorraine McCune

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177879

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195177879.001.0001

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Cognitive Bases of Language

Cognitive Bases of Language

(p.73) 4 Cognitive Bases of Language
How Children Learn to Learn Language

Lorraine McCune

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the cognitive bases of language transitions, including studies of infant “category formation”, the logic of action characterizing infant problem solving, and the earliest evidence of the mental representation of objects. It is shown that Piaget's theory provides a comprehensive guide to children's cognitive development between about 6 months and 2 years of age, the time of transition into language. Results from experimental approaches provide support for gradual cognitive developments during the same time period. Findings from a Piagetian approach integrate well with the notions of embodied cognition and a dynamic systems view of development. Two related sorts of cognitive ability emerging during this time are essential for beginning referential language: (1) the capacity to process an ongoing event as it occurs in real time and space and (2) the capacity for mental representation of meaning.

Keywords:   language acquisition, language development, cognition, knowledge, concepts, language transitions, category formation, Piaget

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