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Journal of Child Language

Jing Yang
This study investigated the durational features of English word-initial /s/+stop clusters produced by bilingual Mandarin (L1)-English (L2) children and monolingual English children and adults. The participants included two groups of five- to six-year-old bilingual children: low proficiency in the L2 (Bi-low) and high proficiency in the L2 (Bi-high), one group of age-matched English children, and one group of English adults. Each participant produced a list of English words containing /sp, st, sk/ at the word-initial position followed by /a, i, u/, respectively...
May 18, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Casey L Taliancich-Klinger, Lisa M Bedore, Elizabeth D Peña
Preposition knowledge is important for academic success. The goal of this project was to examine how different variables such as English input and output, Spanish preposition score, mother education level, and age of English exposure (AoEE) may have played a role in children's preposition knowledge in English. 148 Spanish-English children between 7;0 and 9;11 produced prepositions in English and Spanish on a sentence repetition task from an experimental version of the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment Middle Extension (Peña, Bedore, Gutierrez-Clellen, Iglesias & Goldstein, in development)...
May 16, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Paola Bonifacci, Margherita Barbieri, Marta Tomassini, Maja Roch
The aim of this study was to compare linguistic and narrative skills of monolingual and bilingual preschoolers and to estimate linguistic predictors of the macro-structural level of narratives. A battery of linguistic measures in Italian was administered to sixty-four Monolinguals and sixty-four Early Bilinguals; it included Vocabulary, Phonological Awareness, Morphosyntactic Comprehension, Phonological Memory, Letter Knowledge, and Story Sequencing tasks. The narratives produced in the Story Sequencing task were coded...
May 8, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Lyn Tieu, Jacopo Romoli, Eva Poortman, Yoad Winter, Stephen Crain
Previous developmental studies of conjunction have focused on the syntax of phrasal and sentential coordination (Lust, 1977; de Villiers, Tager-Flusberg & Hakuta, 1977; Bloom, Lahey, Hood, Lifter & Fiess, 1980, among others). The present study examined the flexibility of children's interpretation of conjunction. Specifically, when two predicates that can apply simultaneously to a single individual are conjoined in the scope of a plural definite (The bears are big and white), conjunction receives a Boolean, intersective interpretation...
May 8, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Kriszta Szendrői, Carline Bernard, Frauke Berger, Judit Gervain, Barbara Höhle
Previous research on young children's knowledge of prosodic focus marking has revealed an apparent paradox, with comprehension appearing to lag behind production. Comprehension of prosodic focus is difficult to study experimentally due to its subtle and ambiguous contribution to pragmatic meaning. We designed a novel comprehension task, which revealed that three- to six-year-old children show adult-like comprehension of the prosodic marking of subject and object focus. Our findings thus support the view that production does not precede comprehension in the acquisition of focus...
May 2, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Marc Aguert, Coralie LE Vallois, Karine Martel, Virginie Laval
Hyperbole supports irony comprehension in adults by heightening the contrast between what is said and the actual situation. Because young children do not perceive the communication situation as a whole, but rather give precedence to either the utterance or the context, we predicted that hyperbole would reduce irony comprehension in six-year-olds (n = 40) by overemphasizing what was said. By contrast, ten-year-olds (n = 40) would benefit from hyperbole in the way that adults do, as they would perceive the utterance and context as a whole, highlighted by the speaker's ironic intent...
May 2, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Elizabeth S Che, Patricia J Brooks, Maria F Alarcon, Francis D Yannaco, Seamus Donnelly
When engaged in conversation, both parents and children tend to re-use words that their partner has just said. This study explored whether proportions of maternal and/or child utterances that overlapped in content with what their partner had just said contributed to growth in mean length of utterance (MLU), developmental sentence score, and vocabulary diversity over time. We analyzed the New England longitudinal corpus from the CHILDES database, comprising transcripts of mother-child conversations at 14, 20, and 32 months, using the CHIP command to compute proportions of utterances with overlapping content...
April 20, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Dean D'Souza, Hana D'Souza, Annette Karmiloff-Smith
In order to understand how language abilities emerge in typically and atypically developing infants and toddlers, it is important to embrace complexity in development. In this paper, we describe evidence that early language development is an experience-dependent process, shaped by diverse, interconnected, interdependent developmental mechanisms, processes, and abilities (e.g. statistical learning, sampling, functional specialization, visual attention, social interaction, motor ability). We also present evidence from our studies on neurodevelopmental disorders (e...
April 10, 2017: Journal of Child Language
David Barner
Perceptual representations of objects and approximate magnitudes are often invoked as building blocks that children combine to acquire the positive integers. Systems of numerical perception are either assumed to contain the logical foundations of arithmetic innately, or to supply the basis for their induction. I propose an alternative to this framework, and argue that the integers are not learned from perceptual systems, but arise to explain perception. Using cross-linguistic and developmental data, I show that small (~1-4) and large (~5+) numbers arise both historically and in individual children via distinct mechanisms, constituting independent learning problems, neither of which begins with perceptual building blocks...
April 5, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Anamaria Bentea, Stephanie Durrleman
Two studies assess French-speaking children's comprehension of object filler-gap dependencies, with the goal of investigating whether the degree of specificity/set-restriction of the fronted object or the intervening subject modulates comprehension. We tease apart the predictions of various accounts attributing children's difficulties to (i) similarities between the object and the intervening subject (Gordon et al., 2001, 2004), particularly when both constituents share a structural +NP feature (Friedmann et al...
March 23, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Erin Conwell
One strategy that children might use to sort words into grammatical categories such as noun and verb is distributional bootstrapping, in which local co-occurrence information is used to distinguish between categories. Words that can be used in more than one grammatical category could be problematic for this approach. Using naturalistic corpus data, this study asks whether noun and verb uses of ambiguous words might differ prosodically as a function of their grammatical category in child-directed speech. The results show that noun and verb uses of ambiguous words in sentence-medial positions do differ from one another in terms of duration, vowel duration, pitch change, and vowel quality measures...
May 2017: Journal of Child Language
Ljubica Marjanovič-Umek, Urška Fekonja-Peklaj, Gregor Sočan
The aim of this longitudinal study, carried out on a sample of Slovenian-speaking toddlers, was to analyze developmental changes and stability in early vocabulary development; to establish relations between toddler's vocabulary and grammar; and to analyze the effects of parental education and the frequency of shared reading on toddlers' vocabulary and grammar. The sample included fifty-one toddlers, aged 1;4 at the time of the first, and 2;7 at the time of the last, assessment. Toddlers' vocabulary and grammar were assessed six times during a 15-month period using the Slovenian adaptation of the CDI...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Anna Jessen, Elisabeth Fleischhauer, Harald Clahsen
This study reports developmental changes in morphological encoding across late childhood. We examined event-related brain potentials (ERPs) during the silent production of regularly vs. irregularly inflected verb forms (viz. -t vs. -n participles of German) in groups of eight- to ten-year-olds, eleven- to thirteen-year-olds, and adults. The adult data revealed an enhanced (right-frontal) negativity 300-450 ms after cue onset for the (silent) production of -t relative to -n past participle forms (e.g. geplant vs...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Jannicke Karlsen, Solveig-Alma Halaas Lyster, Arne Lervåg
This study examined the vocabulary development of Norwegian second language (L2) learners with Urdu/Punjabi as their first language (L1) at two time-points from kindergarten to primary school, and compared it to the vocabulary development of monolingual Norwegian children. Using path models, the associations between number of picture books in the home, maternal education, and previous L1 and L2 vocabulary on the development of L2 vocabulary breadth and depth were investigated. The results indicate that despite the weaker vocabulary skills of the L2 sample, the growth trajectories of the L2 learners and the monolingual comparison group did not differ...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Martin Takac, Alistair Knott, Stephanie Stokes
In this paper, we investigate the effect of neighbourhood density (ND) on vocabulary size in a computational model of vocabulary development. A word has a high ND if there are many words phonologically similar to it. High ND words are more easily learned by infants of all abilities (e.g. Storkel, 2009; Stokes, 2014). We present a neural network model that learns general phonotactic patterns in the exposure language, as well as specific word forms and, crucially, mappings between word meanings and word forms...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Emiddia Longobardi, Pietro Spataro, Diane L Putnick, Marc H Bornstein
Many studies have addressed the question of the relative dominance of nouns over verbs in the productive vocabularies of children in the second year of life. Surprisingly, cross-class (noun-to-verb and verb-to-noun) relations between these two lexical categories have seldom been investigated. The present longitudinal study employed observational and parent-report data obtained from thirty mother-child dyads at 1;4, 1;8, and 2;0 to examine this issue. Both the Natural Partitions/Relational Relativity (NP/RR) hypothesis and the Emergentist Coalition Model (ECM) predict that having an initial repertoire of common nouns should facilitate the acquisition of novel verbs, whereas only the ECM suggests that children exploit the syntactic and semantic constraints of known verbs to infer the meaning of novel nouns...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Carlos J Álvarez, Guacimara García-Saavedra, Juan L Luque, Marcus Taft
Some inconsistency is observed in the results from studies of reading development regarding the role of the syllable in visual word recognition, perhaps due to a disparity between the tasks used. We adopted a word-spotting paradigm, with Spanish children of second grade (mean age: 7 years) and sixth grade (mean age: 11 years). The children were asked to detect one-syllable words that could be found at the beginning of pseudo-words, with the boundary between the word and the remaining letters being manipulated...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Nick G Riches
Children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) have language difficulties of unknown origin. Syntactic profiles are atypical, with poor performance on non-canonical structures, e.g. object relatives, suggesting a localized deficit. However, existing analyses using ANOVAs are problematic because they do not systematically address unequal variance, or fully model random effects. Consequently, a Generalised Linear Model (GLM) was used to analyze data from a Sentence Repetition (SR) task involving relative clauses...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Willem M Mak, Elena Tribushinina, Julia Lomako, Natalia Gagarina, Ekaterina Abrosova, Ted Sanders
Production studies show that both Russian-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) and bilingual children for whom Russian is a non-dominant language have difficulty distinguishing between the near-synonymous connectives i 'and' and a 'and/but'. I is a preferred connective when reference is maintained, whereas a is normally used for reference shift. We report an eye-tracking experiment comparing connective processing by Russian-speaking monolinguals with typical language development (TLD) with that of Russian-Dutch bilinguals and Russian-speaking monolinguals with SLI (age 5-6)...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
Julia Knoepke, Tobias Richter, Maj-Britt Isberner, Johannes Naumann, Yvonne Neeb, Sabine Weinert
Establishing local coherence relations is central to text comprehension. Positive-causal coherence relations link a cause and its consequence, whereas negative-causal coherence relations add a contrastive meaning (negation) to the causal link. According to the cumulative cognitive complexity approach, negative-causal coherence relations are cognitively more complex than positive-causal ones. Therefore, they require greater cognitive effort during text comprehension and are acquired later in language development...
March 2017: Journal of Child Language
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