Differences in vocabulary growth across groups and individuals

Christine E. Potter, Casey Lew-Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter describes causes and consequences of individual differences in young children's word learning. For decades, research has documented qualitative and quantitative differences in children's language input, and it has been convincingly demonstrated that across different communities, children's vocabulary growth can be linked to their language experiences. However, children also actively shape their own learning environment, and it is important to consider how their cognitive abilities, as well as their interests, shape their language experiences and their learning. Only by examining children with a wide range of experiences (e.g., children growing up in multilingual communities) and abilities (e.g., children with developmental delays or disorders) will it be possible to develop theories that adequately capture and explain differences in children's word learning and vocabulary growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Mental Lexicon
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780191880292
ISBN (Print)9780198845003
StatePublished - Feb 14 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


  • Cognitive abilities
  • Language disorders
  • Language input
  • Multilingualism
  • Word learning


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