Complexities of expressive word learning over time

Karla K. McGregor, Sheng Li, Tracy Ball

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine semantic and lexical aspects of word learning over time. Method: Thirty-four 8-year-olds participated in vocabulary lessons for 2 weeks. Frequency of exposure and informativeness of semantic context were manipulated. A definition task assessed semantic learning and a naming task assessed lexical learning. Results: Semantic and lexical knowledge accrued over time and were maintained after a 1-month interval. Higher frequency of exposure had an immediate effect on semantic learning and a more gradual effect on lexical learning. Frequency of exposure coupled with informative context promoted semantic learning. Clinical Implications: Speech-language pathologists should be mindful of the richness of the learning context and the redundancy of massed and distributed exposures. Learning at the semantic and lexical levels can dissociate so both should be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-364
Number of pages12
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Semantics
  • Teaching
  • Vocabulary
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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