Speech Therapy -> Expressive Language -> Multiple Meanings

Multiple Meanings

Many words in the English language have multiple meanings (estimated at 50% of words). Teaching children about multiple meaning words encourages them to cross check meaning with the context of the sentence, which is a vocabulary learning strategy. Teaching multiple representations of one word may help increase the likelihood that a student will remember the word.

Reference links

  • Modeling the Acquisition of Words With Multiple Meanings 3
    Author: Libby Barak; Sammy Floyd; Adele Goldberg - Learning vocabulary is essential to successful communication. Complicating this task is the underappreciated fact that most common words are associated with multiple senses (are polysemous) (e.g., baseball cap vs. cap of a bottle), while other words are homonymous, evoking meanings that are unrelated to one another (e.g., baseball bat vs. flying bat). Models of human word learning have thus far failed to represent this level of naturalistic complexity. We extend a feature-based computational model to allow for multiple meanings, while capturing the gradient distinction between polysemy and homonymy by using structured sets of features. Results confirm that the present model correlates better with human data on novel word learning tasks than the existing feature-based model.
  • How to Target Multiple Meaning Words In Speech Therapy 1
    Author: @slpnow - In this week's podcast episode, Marisha reviews the evidence related to the assessment and treatment of multiple meaning words.
  • The 100 Most Important Multiple Meaning Words Kids Need to Know | K5 Learning 1
    K5 Learning highlights the top 100 most important multiple meaning words.
  • Assessing Children's Knowledge of Multiple Meaning Words 1
    Knowledge of multiple meaning words is important for oral and written communication. This research concerned the assessment of such knowledge. Elementary school children with language-learning diff...
  • Multiple Meanings: Theory, Research and Teaching Tips 1
    Author: Susan Ebbers - Learning about the multiple meanings of words (e.g., to find -- a find) is included in the new and widely adopted Common Core Standards for English Language Arts. For example, the excerpt below was lifted from the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language. This anchor standard is identical for Grades K-5 and 6-12 and applies also to ELLs (English Language Learners).
  • All Words are Not Created Equal 1
    Author: Sarah - Tips for selecting stimulus items for practice and testing.
  • The Functional External Memory Aid Tool Version 2.0: A How-To Clinical Guide 0
    Author: Alyssa M Lanzi 1 2, Anna K Saylor 1, Robert F Dedrick 3, Michelle S Bourgeois 4, Matthew L Cohen 1 2 5 - This clinical-focus article describes new resources available to help clinicians administer and interpret Version 2.0 of the FEMAT when serving adults with cognitive-communication disorders.
  • Multiple Meanings In the EFL Lexicon 0
    Author: Meral Ozturk - The present study investigates the extent of multiple word meanings among the most frequent 9,000 words of the English language, which we refer here as the EFL lexicon. These include the high frequency vocabulary covering the most frequent 3,000 words as well as the mid-frequency vocabulary, which covers the subsequent 6,000 words in the 4,001 -9,000 frequency range. The meanings of 225 words randomly sampled from nine word frequency lists based on the British National Corpus were checked using the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries website. The results indicated that 64% of the words in the entire sample had multiple meanings. The percentage was much higher among the high frequency vocabulary (95%) but dropped to 48% in the mid-frequency vocabulary. The words had 2.49 meanings on average amounting to a learning load of over 22,000 meanings for the 9,000 words. The high frequency vocabulary had more meanings: 4 meanings per word, suggesting an even heavier load for lower proficiency learners for whom this vocabulary is a common first target. The extent of multiple meanings was greater in adjectives: there was a greater percentage of adjectives with multiple meanings (85%) and the number of meanings per word was also higher (2.93 meanings) warranting special pedagogic attention.
  • Effects of a Vocabulary Intervention On Teaching Multiple-Meaning Words to Students Who Are D/Deaf and Hard of Hearing 1
    Author: Faisl M Alqraini; Peter V Paul - Building vocabulary knowledge, especially breadth and depth of word meanings, is a crucial step in assisting students to read and comprehend print independently. A large body of research has documented the low reading achievement levels of a number of Deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students. The goal of the present study was to examine the effects of a vocabulary intervention to teach 24 multiple-meaning words to fourth-grade DHH students in Saudi Arabia by utilizing a single-case experimental design (multiple probe design across participants). A total of 5 students with a profound hearing loss participated in the study. About 3 of 5 received the intervention, whereas two other students served as an additional control component and were administered the pretest and posttest only. The data showed that there was a significant improvement in the recognition and comprehension scores of students who received the intervention. In contrast, students who did not receive the intervention showed no significant improvement on the posttest.

Activity List(s)

Visual Schedule Cards

Related Diagnosis Code(s)

  • F80.4 - Speech and language development delay due to hearing loss
  • F80.1 - Expressive Language Disorder
  • F80.9 - Developmental disorder of speech and language, unspecified
  • F80.2 - Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder
  • F80.89 - Other developmental disorders of speech and language

Goal Bank

  • Sadye will receptively identify and define abstract or figurative language, idioms, and multiple meaning words in context independently with 80% accuracy across 3 treatment sessions to improve language comprehension. 1


  • Multiple Meaning Words preview

    Multiple Meaning Words


    Speech Resource. SLP resource. Each card contains a multiple meaning word and two associated images (each one for a different meaning of the word). Words: pool, bat, fly, bowl, bolt, wave, bark, gu...


  • Multiple Meaning Words Jeopardy For Distance Learning preview

    Multiple Meaning Words Jeopardy For Distance Learning

    Sara Lowczyk

    This is multiple meaning words Jeopardy for production of two words per meaning. 30 prompts available. This is a no print resource, so it can be used in screen share for teletherapy.


  • Valentine’s Day Multiple Meaning Words preview

    Valentine’s Day Multiple Meaning Words

    Breann Voytko

    Work on multiple meaning words this Valentine’s Day


  • Gumball Machine With Gumballs preview

    Gumball Machine With Gumballs

    Jessica Lenden-Holt

    Gumball machine with blank gumballs. Can be modified to use as reinforcer, language, or articulation activity.


  • St. Patrick’s Day Language Packet preview

    St. Patrick’s Day Language Packet

    Breann Voytko

    Use this resource to target the following skills: -Rhyming -Multiple Meaning Words -Synonyms and Antonyms -Sentence Completion Task -Labeling Actions -Prepositions -Describing