DOI link for The proto-lexicon
The proto-lexicon book
This chapter highlights the link between early word-form recognition and early word learning. Infants' ability to segment words from speech has predominantly been tested via one of two methods: behaviorally with the head-turn preference procedure and electrophysiologically with an event-related potential (ERP) paradigm. The ERP paradigm offers the advantage that it allows for an online index of word recognition. While it is debated whether or not isolated words alone can function as a starting point for vocabulary acquisition infants are required to segment the speech stream into separate word-like units from very early on. Jusczyk suggested that once infants recognize proto-words—word-like units without any meaning—they will start looking for concepts to match these words onto. Several longitudinal analyses report positive linear relationships between infants' ability to detect words from fluent speech and the subsequent size of their lexicons.