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Journal of Child Language

Annina K Hessel, Victoria A Murphy
We explored the vocabulary and metaphor comprehension of learners of English as an additional language (EAL) in the first two years of UK primary school. EAL vocabulary knowledge is believed to be a crucial predictor of (reading) comprehension and educational attainment (Murphy, 2018). The vocabulary of five- to seven-year-old children with EAL was compared to that of English monolinguals (N = 80). Comprehension was assessed for both verbal (e.g., time flies) and nominal metaphors (be on cloud nine) of varying frequency...
October 31, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Carla Wikse Barrow, Kristina Nilsson Björkenstam, Sofia Strömbergsson
This study aimed to investigate concerns of validity and reliability in subjective ratings of age-of-acquisition (AoA), through exploring characteristics of the individual rater. An additional aim was to validate the obtained AoA ratings against two corpora - one of child speech and one of adult speech - specifically exploring whether words over-represented in the child-speech corpus are rated with lower AoA than words characteristic of the adult-speech corpus. The results show that less than one-third of participating informants' ratings are valid and reliable...
October 23, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Daan J VAN DE Velde, Niels O Schiller, Claartje C Levelt, Vincent J VAN Heuven, Mieke Beers, Jeroen J Briaire, Johan H M Frijns
The perception and production of emotional and linguistic (focus) prosody were compared in children with cochlear implants (CI) and normally hearing (NH) peers. Thirteen CI and thirteen hearing-age-matched school-aged NH children were tested, as baseline, on non-verbal emotion understanding, non-word repetition, and stimulus identification and naming. Main tests were verbal emotion discrimination, verbal focus position discrimination, acted emotion production, and focus production. Productions were evaluated by NH adult Dutch listeners...
October 18, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Lyle Lustigman, Eve V Clark
This study focuses on adult responses to children's verb uses, the information they provide, and how they change over time. We analyzed longitudinal samples from four children acquiring Hebrew (age-range: 1;4-2;5; child verb-forms = 8,337). All child verbs were coded for inflectional category, and for whether and how adults responded to them. Our findings show that: (a) children's early verbs were opaque with no clear inflectional target (e.g., the child-form tapes corresponds to letapes 'to-climb', metapes 'is-climbing', yetapes 'will-climb'), with inflections added gradually; (b) most early verbs were followed by adult responses using the same lexeme; and (c) as opacity in children's verbs decreased, adults made fewer uses of the same lexeme in their responses, and produced a broader array of inflections and inflectional shifts...
October 17, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Qi Cheng, Rachel I Mayberry
Previous studies suggest that age of acquisition affects the outcomes of learning, especially at the morphosyntactic level. Unknown is how syntactic development is affected by increased cognitive maturity and delayed language onset. The current paper studied the early syntactic development of adolescent first language learners by examining word order patterns in American Sign Language (ASL). ASL uses a basic Subject-Verb-Object order, but also employs multiple word order variations. Child learners produce variable word order at the initial stage of acquisition, but later primarily produce canonical word order...
October 17, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Elena Babatsouli, Elena Nicoladis
Previous research in child language shows that many aspects of language acquisition are frequency-linked. This study tests whether input or usage frequency predicts the order of acquisition and accuracy of a bilingual Greek-English child's English possessives. The child was followed longitudinally from age 2;6 to 3;11. Order of acquisition was comparable to that of same-aged monolingual children. The child's usage frequency and order of acquisition were highly correlated with input frequency, while her accuracy was not...
October 17, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Min Kyung Han, Holly Storkel, Daniel E Bontempo
Many studies have addressed the effect of neighborhood density (phonological similarity among words) on word learning in quiet listening conditions. We explored how noise influences the effect of neighborhood density on children's word learning. One-hundred-and-two preschoolers learned nonwords varied in neighborhood density in one of four listening conditions: quiet, +15 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), +6 dB SNR, and 0 dB SNR. Results showed that a high-density advantage for children under quiet listening condition was significantly reduced as noise increased...
October 16, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Susanne Brouwer, Deniz Özkan, Aylin C Küntay
This study investigated whether cross-linguistic differences affect semantic prediction. We assessed this by looking at two languages, Dutch and Turkish, that differ in word order and thus vary in how words come together to create sentence meaning. In an eye-tracking task, Dutch and Turkish four-year-olds (N = 40), five-year-olds (N = 58), and adults (N = 40) were presented with a visual display containing two familiar objects (e.g., a cake and a tree). Participants heard semantically constraining (e.g., "The boy eats the big cake") or neutral sentences (e...
October 5, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Merel M VAN Goch, Ludo Verhoeven, James M McQueen
In lexical development, the specificity of phonological representations is important. The ability to build phonologically specific lexical representations predicts the number of words a child knows (vocabulary breadth), but it is not clear if it also fosters how well words are known (vocabulary depth). Sixty-six children were studied in kindergarten (age 5;7) and first grade (age 6;8). The predictive value of the ability to learn phonologically similar new words, phoneme discrimination ability, and phonological awareness on vocabulary breadth and depth were assessed using hierarchical regression...
September 21, 2018: Journal of Child Language
A Delcenserie, F Genesee, N Trudeau, F Champoux
A battery of standardized language tests and control measures was administered to three groups of at-risk language learners - internationally adopted children, deaf children with cochlear implants, and children with specific language impairment - and to groups of second-language learners and typically developing monolingual children. All children were acquiring French, were matched on age, gender, and socioeconomic status, and were between age 5;0 and 7;3 at the time of testing. Differences between the at-risk and not-at-risk groups were evident in all domains of language testing...
September 17, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Joanne Arciuli, Benjamin Bailey
In this exploratory study, we examined stress contrastivity within real word productions elicited via picture naming in 20 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 20 typical peers group-wise matched on age and vocabulary. Targets had a dominant pattern of lexical stress beginning with a strong-weak pattern (SW: 'caterpillar', 'butterfly') or a non-dominant pattern of lexical stress beginning with a weak-strong pattern (WS: 'tomato', 'potato'). Children produced each target twice (n = 320 productions)...
September 12, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Laura Franchin, Federica Savazzi, Isabel Cristina Neira-Gutierrez, Luca Surian
Infants begin to understand some of the meanings of the adjective good at around thirteen months, but it is not clear when they start to map it to concepts in the moral domain. We investigated infants' and toddlers' knowledge of good in the domains of help and fairness. Participants at 20 and 30 months were shown computer animations involving helpful and hindering agents, or agents who performed fair or unfair distributions, and were asked to "pick the good one". Toddlers at 30 months took good as referring to helping, but not to the fair agents...
September 5, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Katalin Tamási, Cristina McKean, Adamantios Gafos, Barbara Höhle
In a preferential looking paradigm, we studied how children's looking behavior and pupillary response were modulated by the degree of phonological mismatch between the correct label of a target referent and its manipulated form. We manipulated degree of mismatch by introducing one or more featural changes to the target label. Both looking behavior and pupillary response were sensitive to degree of mismatch, corroborating previous studies that found differential responses in one or the other measure. Using time-course analyses, we present for the first time results demonstrating full separability among conditions (detecting difference not only between one vs...
September 4, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Elinor Saiegh-Haddad, Lina Haj
The study tested the impact of the phonological distance between Spoken Arabic (SpA) and Standard Arabic (StA) on quality of phonological representations among kindergarten, first-, second-, and sixth-grade Arabic-speaking children (N = 120). A pronunciation accuracy judgment task targeted three types of StA words that varied in extent of phonological distance from their form in SpA: (a) identical words, with an identical lexical-phonological form in StA and SpA; (b) cognate words, with partially overlapping phonological forms; items in this category varied in degree of phonological distance too; and (c) unique words with entirely different lexical-phonological forms...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
Peggy Pik Ki Mok, Albert Lee
Previous studies on bilingual children found intact tonal development at the initial stages of interaction between Cantonese and English in successive bilingual children, whereas children exposed to both languages from birth have not been studied in this regard. We examined the production of Cantonese tones by five simultaneous bilingual children longitudinally at 2;0 and 2;6, and compared them with age-matched monolingual children using auditory analysis. Our results showed that some bilingual children had a delay at 2;0, compared to their monolingual peers...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
Dana E Bernier, Melanie Soderstrom
This study tested infants' ability to segregate target speech from a background of ecologically valid multi-talker speech at a 10 dB SNR. Using the Headturn Preference Procedure, 72 English-learning 5-, 9-, and 12-month-old monolinguals were tested on their ability to detect and perceive their own name. At all three ages infants were able to detect the presence of the target speech, but only at 9 months did they show sensitivity to the phonetic details that distinguished their own name from other names. These results extend previous findings on infants' speech perception in noise to more naturalistic forms of background speech...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
Jean-Marc Colletta, Catherine Pellenq, Ali Hadian-Cefidekhanie, Isabelle Rousset
This paper reports on an original study designed to investigate age-related change in the way French children produce speech during oral narrative, considering both prosodic parameters - speaking rate and duration of the prosodic speech unit - and linguistic structure. Eighty-five French children aged four to eleven years were asked to tell a story after they were shown an excerpt from an animated film. All their remarks were transcribed and coded using ELAN as an annotation tool. Each narrative was analyzed for duration, articulation rate, and linguistic components (i...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
Shira Tal, Inbal Arnon
Socio-economic status (SES) impacts the amount and type of input children hear in ways that have developmental consequences. Here, we examine the effect of SES on the use of variation sets (successive utterances with partial self-repetitions) in child-directed speech (CDS). Variation sets have been found to facilitate language learning, but have been studied only in higher-SES groups. Here, we examine their use in naturalistic speech in two languages (Hebrew and English) for both low- and high-SES caregivers...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
Karla McGREGOR, Natalie Munro, Su Mei Chen, Elise Baker, Jacob Oleson
To determine whether the developing semantic lexicon varies with culture, we examined the animal and food naming of children from three communities distinguished by language, cultural heritage, and population density. The children were five- and seven-year-olds from Australia (n = 197), Taiwan (n = 456), and the US (n = 172). Naming patterns revealed hierarchical and flexible organization of the semantic lexicon. The content of the lexicon, particularly food names, varied with cultural heritage. In all three communities, wild mammals were predominant during animal naming, a likely influence of children's media...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
L J Conway, P A Levickis, F Mensah, J A Smith, M Wake, S Reilly
We explored whether supported (SJE) or coordinated joint engagement (CJE) between mothers recruited from the community and their 24-month-old children who were slow-to-talk at 18 months old were associated with child language scores at ages 24, 36, and 48 months (n = 197). We further explored whether SJE or CJE modified the concurrent positive associations between maternal responsive behaviours and language scores. Previous research has shown that SJE, maternal expansions, imitations, and responsive questions were associated with better language scores...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
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