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Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon, 4th Edition



Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon, 4th Edition

Jean Aitchison

ISBN: 978-1-118-29776-6 May 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 352 Pages


Featuring new coverage of the brain and language, and lexical corpora, the 4th edition of Words in the Mind offers readers the latest thinking about the ways in which we learn words, remember them, understand them, and find the ones we want to use.
  • Explores the latest insights into the complex relationship between language, words, and the human mind, creating a rich and revealing resource for students and non-specialists alike
  • Addresses the structure and content of the human word-store – the ‘mental lexicon’ – with particular reference to the spoken language of native English speakers
  • Features a wealth of new material, including an all-new chapter focusing exclusively on the brain and language, and enhanced coverage of lexical corpora – computerized databases – and on lexical change of meaning
  • Incorporates numerous updates throughout, including expansion of many notes and suggestions for further reading
  • Comprises state-of-the-art research, yet remains accessible and student-friendly


Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Abbreviations and Symbols xiii

Part I: Aims and Evidence 1

1 Welcome to Dictionopolis! 3
The human word-store

2 Links in the Chain 18
Assessing the evidence

3 Programming Dumbella 32
Modeling the mental lexicon

4 Brainy Matters 42
The physical underlay

Part II: Basic Ingredients 51

5 Slippery Customers 53
Attempts to pin down the meaning of words

6 Bad Birds and Better Birds 66
Prototype theories

7 Whispering Chambers of the Imagination 80
Mental models

8 The Primordial Atomic Globule Hunt 90
The search for semantic primitives

9 Word-webs 99
Semantic networks

10 Close Companions 113
Words which cling together

11 Lexical All-sorts 119
Parts of speech

12 Verb Power 131
The role of verbs

13 Bits of Words 145
The internal architecture of words

14 Taking Care of the Sounds 157
Dealing with the sound patterns

Part III: Newcomers 169

15 Multiple Meanings 171
The polysemy problem

16 Interpreting Ice-cream Cones 182
Metaphor and metonymy

17 Globbering Mattresses 194
Creating new words

18 What is a Bongaloo, Daddy? 209
How children learn the meaning of words

19 Aggergog Miggers, Wips and Gucks 222
How children cope with the sounds of words

Part IV: The Overall Picture 235

20 Seeking and Finding 237
Selecting words

21 Organized Guesswork 248
Recognizing words

22 Odd Arrangements and Funny Solutions 261
The organization of the mental lexicon

23 Last Word 267
Final comments and future questions

Notes 270

References 292

Index 327

  • Presents the most up-to-date research on the mental lexicon in an accessible manner
  • Features a new chapter on the brain and language, and new information on lexical corpora and lexical change
  • Includes numerous updates to notes, further reading suggestions, and references