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Many, if not most, words in English and other languages have multiple meanings – in other words, they are polysemous. Experimental research has suggested that polysemy presents both benefits and challenges to word processing and learning for adults, depending, for instance, on how semantically similar the two meanings of a word are. However, relatively little research has examined children’s knowledge of homonyms, factors that affect this knowledge, or how we might support this learning educationally.

In this talk, I will discuss our cross-sectional research which examines factors affecting primary school children’s knowledge of English homonyms, including individual differences (e.g., having English as a first or additional language), and psycholinguistic factors (e.g., frequency of words and word meanings). I will also introduce a randomised controlled trial we are conducting, which examines the effect of two different versions of a digital vocabulary game that we have developed with a game developer on children’s knowledge of homonyms, with some preliminary findings.


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How to attend

A link will be circulated via the departmental epseminars mailing list during the week before the talk. External guests are welcome and should email for the link.