The Social Nature of Words and Word Learning

Nameera Akhtar and Michael Tomasello

in Becoming a Word Learner

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780195130324
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893898 | DOI:

Series: Counterpoints: Cognition, Memory, and Language

The Social Nature of Words and Word Learning

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This chapter describes research findings from the social-pragmatic approach. It discusses that Nameera Akhtar and Michael Tomasello's dramatic findings demonstrate how word learning occurs in some fairly complex, nonostensive situations amid the flow of social interaction. It states that current models of word learning, as suggested by Akhtar and Tomasello, undervalue the role of social interaction. It explains that because language has social goals as its ultimate purpose, social interactions are the outcome of word learning.

Keywords: Nameera Akhtar; Michael Tomasello; word learning; social interaction; social goals

Chapter.  9673 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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