Word Meanings. Technical Report No. 485

TitleWord Meanings. Technical Report No. 485
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsAnderson, R. C., & Nagy W. E.
KeywordsLanguage Arts, Language Research, Linguistic Theory, Models, Reading Comprehension, Reading Research, Semantics, Theory Practice Relationship, Vocabulary, Words
AbstractThis report addresses the nature of the knowledge people possess about word meanings, and how this knowledge is acquired and used in reading comprehension. The report outlines a "standard model" of word meanings which equates word meanings with critical features, or necessary and sufficient conditions for serious, literal use of a word. The model outlined underlies both current common sense thinking about word meanings and much current pedagogical practice in vocabulary instruction. The report argues that in the standard model's attempt to provide a parsimonious, general account of semantics, the standard model falls short of a linguistically adequate and psychologically realistic characterization of meaning. The report concludes that although many points are still being debated, the current consensus of scholars can best be characterized as the rejection of the standard model. (Sixty-three references are attached.) (RS)