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ERIC Number: ED170061
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Growth of Word Sense and Word Meaning.
Livingston, Kenneth R.
A theoretical distinction is made between the growth of word meaning and the development of word sense in Vygotsky's terms. A recall from semantic memory task and the semantic differential were used to operationalize these two conceptions of meaning in a study of 72 children aged 5 to 10 years. Results replicated typical findings for the growth of word meaning, showing increased extension and hierarchical organization of the concepts "animals" and "living things." Extension of the conventional principles of the growth of word meaning to the development of word sense led to the hypothesis that word connotation as measured by the semantic differential would become increasingly distinctive with age. In contradiction to the hypothesis, it was discovered that category instances become less distinctive with increasing age. These findings suggest that to the extent that word sense is important to word use, traditional strategies for studying developing word meanings may produce information relevant to a limited set of circumstances. It is argued that because word sense is central to the social use of the word, future research on semantic development should be broadened to include studies of word sense. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Connotative Meaning
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (San Francisco, California, March 15-18, 1979)