Icon, Index, or Symbol?
This chapter begins by defining “word”. It explains that words are minimal free forms in the languages of the world and are the building blocks of language. It then examines how humans cross the word-learning barrier. It states that the acoustic properties of a word are the first aspect that a child must notice, and that linguistic stimuli appear to be processed in different parts of the brain than are non-linguistic stimuli. It discusses that it is the hierarchical aspect of reference — icon, index, and symbol — that distinguishes human words from animal calls. It argues that symbol acquisition seems to require more than does the acquisition of indices. It provides an overview of the entire study.
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