Factors That Influence Semantic Development Essay
Chapter 2 Review
1. List two-three factors that influence semantic development. For each, specify how a specific factor might affect a child’s semantic development.
Semantic development describes how someone learns and retains (or stores) the meanings of words. Three factors that influence semantic development are gender, language impairment, and language exposure.
First, girls seem to be at an advantage when it comes to semantic development. Not only do they have larger vocabularies, but they tend to pick up new words more readily than boys. These differences are most prominent before the ages of 6 or 7 (afterward, they decrease or even disappear). Researchers hypothesize that these differences are due to the interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors; thus, both nature and nurture may account for this difference. For instance, while girls’ brains may be organized differently from boys’ brains (biological), girls may have more opportunities to learn language from adults (social and possibly psychological).
Language impairment also affects semantic development, especially with regard to the size of one’s lexicon. Children with language impairments or developmental disorders of language (SLI) tend to have considerably smaller vocabularies than their peers without SLI. They may also learn new words more slowly. In general, children with SLI require more trials to produce a new word—the study in the book suggests that while typically…