How is it possible that human beings are capable of remembering tens of thousands of words (later in life even being able to spell most of them correctly and increasing their vocabulary) and what these words refer to.
This seems to me like such an interesting question to ask, but googling returns zero results, which amazes and saddens me at the same time. Aren't people interested in this salient characteristic of our linguistic abilities?
TL;DR: what "tools" does the brain use to remember a fairly massive portion of the vocabulary of a language at a very young age?
P.S. I would like to make it clear that the only language I am familiar with is English, so I'm a bit worried that my question may be English-centric. I would again be amazed if other languages used different set of "tools". If there is some general theory (or theories) of how this phenomenon comes about not only in English, but in other world languages as well, I would greatly appreciate it if you could outline it (or them). And I beg you, please try to answer in as simple terms as possible as I am just a curious layman.