3rd CfP - Session on Lexical Bootstrapping - GCLA conference
bartsch at zas.gwz-berlin.de
bartsch at zas.gwz-berlin.de
Mon May 29 12:16:10 UTC 2006
Please find below the third and final call for papers for our theme session
on lexical bootstrapping in early language and conceptual development.
DEADLINE: May 31, 2006
With best wishes,
Third and Final Call for Papers
LEXICAL BOOTSTRAPPING IN CHILD LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND CHILD CONCEPTUAL
To be held at the
SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE GERMAN COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS
Munich, 5-7 October 2006
- CLARIFICATION ABOUT CONTENTS OF SUBMITTED ABSTRACTS
- POSSIBILITY OF PUBLICATION
Apart from some few exceptions (Brown 1958, Nelson 1973), the research on
child lexical development did not receive much attention from students of
child language in the 1960s and 1970s. In opposition to some statements
found in the more recent literature (Rothweiler & Meibauer 1999), this fact
is not really surprising when one considers the very influential role then
played by formal linguistics with its primacy of syntactic structures and
the view of lexicon and semantics as something rather epiphenomenal. From
the 1980s on, this state of affairs has changed dramatically.
For one thing, over the last 25 years or so, there has been more and more
interest in topics related to child lexical acquisition. Over these several
years, the research has issued many relevant theoretical insights resp.
assumptions, and methodologies about lexical development, such as the view
of individual differences in early vocabulary composition in terms of a
continuum between referential and expressive style (Nelson 1973) and the
holophrastic nature of early words (Nelson 1985), the differentiation
between expressive and receptive vocabulary, as well as the use of
correlational methods (Bates et al. 1988), or the role of domain-general
cognitive skills of categorisation and theory of mind (Tomasello 2003),
amongst several others.
Secondly and most importantly, this body of research (much of which has been
done within functionalist-cognitivist frameworks) seems to allow for the
formulation of general assumptions concerning child language development in
general, as well as the interplay between language and conceptual
development. Thus, especially studies focussing on within- and cross-domain
developmental correlations seem to provide evidence for a Lexical
Bootstrapping Hypothesis (Dale et al. 2000, Dionne et al. 2003), i.e., the
assumption that early lexical development, as mapping of words to referents
or their conceptualisations, and even to whole propositions, is not only
prior to, but also pre-requisite for the emergence of morpho-syntactic
constructions (which, incidentally, are not fundamentally different from
words, in that they are equally form-meaning pairs). The lexical
bootstrapping hypothesis presupposes an early stage in lexical development
characterized by the learning of archilexemes, a term originally proposed by
Zemb (1978), as grammarless lexemes composed of form and concept only, here
understood as the means by which the child begins to cognize and categorize
the world. Such assumption on the fundamental role of early lexical
acquisition for later language development as a whole challenges the view
about the primacy of syntax over lexicon and semantics that has been
postulated in these 50 years of formal linguistics.
For our special paper session, we would like to invite researchers
interested in an exploratory discussion about lexical bootstrapping in child
language and conceptual development, and willing to present their own
studies as contributions to this discussion.
Empirical, methodological and theoretical contributions dealing with aspects
of word learning in the one-word phase (and perhaps also before) that might
predict diverse aspects of later language and conceptual development of
typically developing and impaired children may focus on one or more of the
following questions and topics (evidently, other suggestions are equally
- How can measures of, and assumptions on, early lexical development
(vocabulary size, vocabulary composition, vocabulary growth rate, vocabulary
style, vocabulary spurt, critical mass, others?) be correlated to measures
of later grammatical emergence and development (emergence and proportion of
multi-word utterances, Mean Length of Utterance, development of inflectional
paradigms and use of function words, realisation of argument constructions,
others?) How reliable are such correlations?
- How can the study of early lexical development shed light on the issue of
individual variance and developmental language disorders? Can aspects of
early word learning (expressive vs. referential style, dissimilar timing of
vocabulary development, peculiarities in vocabulary composition,
peculiarities in the conceptual mapping, others?) provide criteria for a
differentiation between mere individual variance and developmental disorder,
as well as for a differentiation between transient and persistent disorders?
Can such aspects be used in the context of early diagnosis of such
- Which cognitive processes underlie word learning as both word-to-concept
mapping and categorization task? Are there constraints and principles at
play? What is the nature of such constraintsare they domain (=language)
specific or domain general? How are they related to later language and
- Does a notion of lexical bootstrapping in language acquisition preclude
other bootstrapping mechanisms in the stages before the emergence of
grammar, such as prosodic, semantic, syntactic bootstrapping, or can
interplay amongst these types of bootstrapping mechanisms be assumed?
- Related to the last question, how does the child construct her mental
lexicon? How is it structuredis this structure modular or network-like or
anything else? Which processes of reorganisation are at work along
- Can early words (at least partially) be seen as holophrases in that they
(at least partially) refer to whole propositions? Which developmental
change(s) takes place in the transition from holophrastic one-word
utterances to multi-word utterances?
- Which evidences can be drawn from studies of word learning in children
with cognitive developmental disorders (Down Syndrome, Williams Syndrome,
others?), as well as in blind and deaf children?
- Which insights can be drawn from research based on (i) corpora analyses;
(ii) computer learning simulations; (iii) neural activation in experimental
situations, such as categorisation tasks; (iv) lexical/conceptual processing
in adults with and without language disorders (e.g. aphasia)?
- Which similarities, differences or peculiarities can be observed when
comparing mono- and multilingual word learning, as well as comparing
monolingual and cross-linguistic studies?
Depending on the number of contributions, the special session will take
place at one or two days of the conference.
The theme session will be framed by a paper introducing the topic of lexical
bootstrapping in child language and conceptual development and, again
depending on the number of contributions, one or two discussion rounds.
BEFORE SENDING IT, MAKE SURE PLEASE THAT YOUR ABSTRACT:
- indicates EXPLICITLY how and to which extent YOUR STUDY IS RELATED TO THE
HYPOTHESIS OF LEXICAL BOOTSTRAPPING in child language and conceptual
development. Does your study support or refute the lexical bootstrapping
hypothesis? If yes, how and to which extent? If not, why not?
- is detailed, i.e., it is about 1000 WORDS LONG, not including list of
references, tables, diagrams, etc.;
- indicates explicitly and in detail the EMPIRICAL BASIS of your study; this
holds also for theoretical works, i.e., theoretical work might rely, for
instance, on empirical studies of other researchers, but please NOT SOLELY
ON INTROSPECTIVE METHODS;
- contains a LIST OF THE REFERENCES mentioned.
The deadline for abstract submission was extended to 31 May 2006.
Participants will be notified of the acceptance of their papers by 1 July
2006. Participants should send us an updated abstract of their papers by 21
Please send your abstracts exclusively as email attachments (doc- or
Susanna Bartsch Dagmar Bittner
bartsch at zas.gwz-berlin.de dabitt at zas.gwz-berlin.de
The conference languages are German and English.
The organizers are preparing a PROPOSAL FOR PUBLICATION of the presented
papers in the series COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS RESEARCH (CLR) (Mouton de
Gruyter) edited by Dirk Geeraerts, John Taylor, and René Dirven.
Bates, E., Bretherton, I., & Snyder, L. 1988. From First Words to Grammar.
Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Brown, R. 1958. Words and things. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.
Dale, P. S., Dionne, G., Eley, T. C., & Plomin, R. 2000. Lexical and
grammatical development: A behavioural genetic perspective. Journal of Child
Language, 27/3, 619-642.
Dionne, G., Dale, P. S., Boivin, M., & Plomin R. 2003. Genetic evidence for
bidirectional effects of early lexical and grammatical development. Child
Development, 74, 394-412.
Hoey, M. 2005. Lexical Priming: A New Theory of Words and Language. London &
New York: Routledge.
Marchman, V. A. & Bates, E. 1994. Continuity in lexical and morphological
development: A test of the critical mass. Journal of Child Language, 21/2,
Nelson, K. 1973. Structure and strategy in learning to talk. Chicago: Univ.
Nelson, K. 1985. Making sense: The acquisition of shared meaning.
Developmental psychology series. Orlando: Academic Press.
Pinker, S. 1984. Language Learnability and Language Development. Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.
Rothweiler, M. & Meibauer, J. (eds.) 1999. Das Lexikon im Spracherwerb: Ein
Überblick. In: Meibauer, J., & Rothweiler, M. (eds.). 1999. Das Lexikon im
Spracherwerb. UTB für Wissenschaft;Mittlere Reihe, 2039. Tübingen: Francke.
Rescorla, L., Mirak, J., & Singh, L. 2000. Vocabulary growth in late
talkers: Lexical development from 2;0 to 3;0. Journal of Child Language, 27,
Zemb, J. M. 1978. Vergleichende Grammatik Französisch Deutsch: Comparaison
de deux systèmes. Mannheim et al.: Bibliographisches Institut.
Tomasello, M. 2003. Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of
language acquisition. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.
Zentrum für allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Typologie und
Centre for General Linguistics, Typology, and Universals Research
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