The Baby Naming Explosion

Initially children use just a few names, mostly for familiar things and people. But when they are still just beginning to talk, many babies will suddenly start naming everything and asking for the names of everything they see. In fact, what'sat? is itself often one of the earliest words. An eighteen-monthold baby will go into a triumphant frenzy of pointing and naming: "What'sat! Dog! What'sat! Clock! What'sat juice, spoon. orange, high chair, clock! Clock! Clock!" Often this is the point at which even fondly attentive parents lose track of how many new words the baby has learned. It's as if the baby discovers that everything has a name, and this discovery triggers a kind of naming explosion.

It turns out you can show experimentally that babies at this stage have a new approach to learning words. You can give a baby just one example of a new nonsense word naming a new kind of thing ("Look, a dax!" you say, pointing to an automatic apple corer), and it will become a permanent part of the baby's vocabulary. Weeks or even months later, he'll correctly identify the "dax." Just one salient instance and babies will internalize a word forever (sometimes, of course, with rather embarrassing consequences). The process is called fast mapping. The babies seem to assume at once that the new name they hear names the new object they've just seen. Babies start to fast-map at about the time they have their naming explosion.


When babies start to learn to talk, they embark on a naming-spree where it is easy for a parent to imprint names onto things that the child will remember.

Folksonomies: babies learning language taxonomy

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Learning (0.907805): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Debut albums (0.606197): dbpedia
Sentence (0.566473): dbpedia | freebase | yago

 The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Gopnik , Meltzoff , Kuhl (2001-01-01), The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind, Harper Paperbacks, Retrieved on 2011-07-06
Folksonomies: education parenting pregnancy babies children infancy