Words in the Mind

By Jean Aitchison,

Book cover of Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon

Book description

This book deals with words, and how humans learn them, remember them, understand them and find the ones they want. It discusses the structure and content of the human word-store or 'mental lexicon' with particular reference to the spoken language of those with English as their native language. Since the…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Words in the Mind as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Most languages consist of huge numbers of different words. For instance, estimates for English range from hundreds of thousands to millions of words. 

While no person knows every word in a language, they will still hold a repertoire of many, many thousands of words in their mind (their mental lexicon).  Dictionaries are useful for describing this ocean of words, but an intriguing question is how the human mind manages to learn and remember so many, and then to find the exact ones it wishes to use from the numerous alternatives. 

Aitchison’s genius lies in how she is able to draw…

From Norbert's list on learning and using language well.

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