with the meaning that adults have. Bowerman ( 1982) descriptions of her daughters' acquisition of the meanings of such terms as kicks call into question how close the early mapping is, however. Her observations suggest that the early meanings overlapped but did not coincide with adults' usage. Dense sampling of a word's meaning from the time a child first encounters it to the time when the meaning closely resembles that of the surrounding linguistic community may provide exactly the kind of data base we need to make progress in understanding the word learning process--data about the initial state of understanding and the changes that occur beyond that initial understanding. Put another way, it may lead to the kind of theory and data that developmental psychologists really want.
Preparation of this chapter was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (HD-19011), the Spencer Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation.
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