2 - Words, dictionaries, and the mental lexicon


In this chapter you will learn why we make a basic distinction between the dictionary and the mental lexicon.

  • We will look at how linguists study the mental lexicon and how children acquire words.
  • We will consider whether complex words are stored in the mental lexicon, or derived by rules, or both.
  • And we will look further at how dictionaries have evolved and how they differ from one another and from the mental lexicon.


mental lexicon - definition and examples of mental lexicon

In psycholinguistics, mental lexicon refers to a person's internalized knowledge of
the properties of words.

word, mental, lexicon, lexicography, the Gavagai problem, fast mapping, aphasia


In the last chapter, we raised the question “what's a word?” And we saw in section 1.2 that this question actually subsumes two more specific questions. In this chapter we will look more closely at those questions.

On the one hand, when we ask “what's a word?,” we may be asking about the fundamental nature of wordhood – as we saw, a far thornier philosophical question than it would seem at first blush. Native speakers of a language seem to know intuitively what a ‘word’ is in their language, even if they have trouble coming up with a definition of ‘word’. Interestingly, the Oxford American Dictionary seems to bank on this intuitive knowledge when it defines a word as “a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.”


The top five charity social media stories of 2013

The increasing influence of social media was the story of 2013, culminating in social media’s sweetheart Twitter going public. Leon Ward (@Leonjward) lists his top five charity social media stories of 2013; positive and negative.

Mental Health Counseling

Mental Health Counseling Assisting families with therapeutic and psychiatric treatment to overcome struggles and improve their quality of life. When children, youth or adults are suffering from mental health issues, the whole family is affected.

Stress Management

Stress Management Stress is the body’s response to any demand placed upon it. This response has both physical and psychological components. You may notice some of the following symptoms or signs of stress: Psychological Physical Behavioral Feeling anxious Feeling irritable Being forgetful,difficulty concentrating Irritability Impulsiveness or Instability Boredom Fatigue Panic Attacks Low self esteem Insomnia Headaches Increased heart rate Grinding of Teeth Gastrointestinal Problems Dry Mouth Perspiration/sweaty hands Neck or Back aches Fatigue Nervous tics Increased use of Alcohol, Tobacco or Other Drugs Excessive TV Watching Sleep Disturbances Over or Under Eating Sexual Problems Crying Yelling, arguments Job or School Burnout Withdrawing from others The sources of stress, are called stressors, and can be: Environmental (weather, indoor environment, noise, pollution, etc) Physiological (illness, injury, sleep disturbances, hangover, poor nutrition, etc.