Language acquisition: From sounds to the meaning
from International School of Advanced Studies via Science Daily
Without understanding the "referential function" of language (words as "verbal labels", symbolizing other things) it is impossible to learn a language. Is this implicit knowledge already present early in infants? The word "apple," as we pronounce it, is a sequence of sounds (phonemes) that we use whenever we want to refer to the object it indicates. If we did not know that a referential relationship exists between the sound and the object it would be impossible for us to use, and learn, a language.
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