Seminar: The role of register-specific words in early lexical development

Dr Mits Ota (University of Edinburgh) will give the next LuCiD seminar on the role of register-specific words in early lexical development. The seminar will take place from 11-12.30 on Tuesday 4th December at the University of Liverpool, LIFS Seminar Room 1.


Across languages, infant/child-directed speech contains a number of conventionalised register-specific words and word forms, such as choo-choo, tummy and doggy. These words, also known as 'baby-talk words,' are often lexically redundant and antithetic to the principle of mutual exclusivity. They also tend to share common characteristics such as a high degree of iconicity, diminutives and sound repetition, which are not typical of the rest of the lexicon. In this talk, I discuss some explanations for the ubiquity and the shared characteristics of baby-talk words, drawing on the results of typological, experimental and longitudinal studies that we have carried out on the impact of the relevant lexical features on word segmentation, learning and production. Taken together, the results of these studies suggest that some of the features found in baby-talk words are facilitative of early lexical development and that register-specific lexical items in infant-directed speech may be shaped and maintained in languages in response to the functional pressure to provide infants a gateway to vocabulary learning.

Where: Seminar Room 1, Life Sciences Building, University of Liverpool. (Building 215 /square F8 on the campus map)

When: 11-12.30, Tuesday 4th December 2018

Leave a Comment

* Indicates fields are required