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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
Sue Ann S Lee, Gregory K Iverson
The present study examined the speech production of three-year-old Korean-English bilingual (KEB) children. English and Korean stops, as well as front vowels in both languages, were compared acoustically among the KEB children, then also measured against those of their age-equivalent monolingual counterparts. Evidence of distinctive phonetic categorization in bilingual children was more salient in vowels than in stops. Vowels and stops produced by the bilingual children were not significantly different from those of their monolingual counterparts...
February 7, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Mitsuhiko Ota, Barbora Skarabela
This study explores the possibility that early word segmentation is aided by infants' tendency to segment words with repeated syllables ('reduplication'). Twenty-four nine-month-olds were familiarized with passages containing one novel reduplicated word and one novel non-reduplicated word. Their central fixation times in response to these as well as new reduplicated and non-reduplicated words introduced at test showed that familiarized reduplicated words were segmented better than familiarized non-reduplicated words...
February 6, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Iris Chin, Matthew S Goodwin, Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy, Letitia R Naigles
Studies investigating the development of tense/aspect in children with developmental disorders have focused on production frequency and/or relied on short spontaneous speech samples. How children with developmental disorders use future forms/constructions is also unknown. The current study expands this literature by examining frequency, consistency, and productivity of past, present, and future usage, using the Speechome Recorder, which enables collection of dense, longitudinal audio-video recordings of children's speech...
February 6, 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
Susanne Vogt, Christina Kauschke
Research has shown that observing iconic gestures helps typically developing children (TD) and children with specific language impairment (SLI) learn new words. So far, studies mostly compared word learning with and without gestures. The present study investigated word learning under two gesture conditions in children with and without language impairment. Twenty children with SLI (age four), twenty age-matched TD children, and twenty language-matched TD children were taught words that were presented with either iconic or non-iconic gestures...
January 23, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Pauline Frizelle, Clodagh O'Neill, Dorothy V M Bishop
Although sentence repetition is considered a reliable measure of children's grammatical knowledge, few studies have directly compared children's sentence repetition performance with their understanding of grammatical structures. The current study aimed to compare children's performance on these two assessment measures, using a multiple-choice picture-matching sentence comprehension task and a sentence repetition task. Thirty-three typically developing children completed both assessments, which included relative clauses representing a range of syntactic roles...
January 16, 2017: Journal of Child Language
Naomi Havron, Inbal Arnon
Can emergent literacy impact the size of the linguistic units children attend to? We examined children's ability to segment multiword sequences before and after they learned to read, in order to disentangle the effect of literacy and age on segmentation. We found that early readers were better at segmenting multiword units (after controlling for age, cognitive, and linguistic variables), and that improvement in literacy skills between the two sessions predicted improvement in segmentation abilities. Together, these findings suggest that literacy acquisition, rather than age, enhanced segmentation...
January 9, 2017: Journal of Child Language
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