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    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Cognition 133 (3), 2014, © ELSEVIER.

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Age of acquisition predicts rate of lexical evolution

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Cognition
Issue number3
Volume133
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)530-534
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The processes taking place during language acquisition are proposed to influence language evolution. However, evidence demonstrating the link between language learning and language evolution is, at best, indirect, constituting studies of laboratory-based artificial language learning studies or computational simulations of diachronic change. In the current study, a direct link between acquisition and evolution is established, showing that for two hundred fundamental vocabulary items, the age at which words are acquired is a predictor of the rate at which they have changed in studies of language evolution. Early-acquired words are more salient and easier to process than late-acquired words, and these early-acquired words are also more stably represented within the community's language. Analysing the properties of these early-acquired words potentially provides insight into the origins of communication, highlighting features of words that have been ultra-conserved in language. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Cognition 133 (3), 2014, © ELSEVIER.