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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...
July 17, 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...
July 16, 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...
July 5, 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...
July 2, 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...
June 21, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Joseph Butler, Sónia Frota
Word segmentation plays a crucial role in language acquisition, particularly for word learning and syntax development, and possibly predicts later language abilities. Previous studies have suggested that this ability develops differently across languages, possibly affected by the languages' rhythmic properties (Rhythmic Segmentation Hypothesis) and target word location in the prosodic structure (Edge Hypothesis). The present study investigates early word segmentation in a language, European Portuguese, that exhibits both stress- and syllable-timed properties, as well as strong cues to both higher-level prosodic boundaries and the word level...
June 6, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Maya Hickmann, Henriëtte Hendriks, Anne-Katharina Harr, Philippe Bonnet
Previous research on motion expression indicates that typological properties influence how speakers select and express information in discourse (Slobin, 2004; Talmy, 2000). The present study further addresses this question by examining the expression of caused motion by adults and children (three to ten years) in French (Verb-framed) vs. English and German (Satellite-framed). Participants narrated short animated cartoons showing an agent displacing objects and varying along several dimensions (Path, Manner)...
June 4, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Pauline Frizelle, Paul A Thompson, David McDonald, Dorothy V M Bishop
Studies examining productive syntax have used varying elicitation methods and have tended to focus on either young children or adolescents/adults, so we lack an account of syntactic development throughout middle childhood. We describe here the results of an analysis of clause complexity in narratives produced by 354 speakers aged from four years to adulthood using the Expressive, Receptive, and Recall of Narrative Instrument (ERRNI). We show that the number of clauses per utterance increased steadily through this age range...
June 4, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Tuomo Häikiö, Seppo Vainio
Finnish is a language with simple syllable structure but rich morphology. It was investigated whether syllables or morphemes are preferred processing units in early reading. To this end, Finnish first- and second-grade children read sentences with embedded inflected target words while their eye-movements were registered. The target words were either in essive or inessive/adessive (i.e., locative) case. The target words were either non-hyphenated, or had syllable-congruent or syllable-incongruent hyphenation...
May 16, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Tomoko Tatsumi, Ben Ambridge, Julian M Pine
This study tested the claim of input-based accounts of language acquisition that children's inflectional errors reflect competition between different forms of the same verb in memory. In order to distinguish this claim from the claim that inflectional errors reflect the use of a morphosyntactic default, we focused on the Japanese verb system, which shows substantial by-verb variation in the frequency distribution of past and nonpast forms. 22 children aged 3;2-5;8 (Study 1) and 26 children aged 2;7-4;11 (Study 2) completed elicited production studies designed to elicit past and nonpast forms of 20 verbs (past-biased and nonpast-biased)...
May 11, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Catherine Davies, Helene Kreysa
Children's ability to refer is underpinned by their developing cognitive skills. Using a production task (n = 57), we examined pre-articulatory visual fixations to contrast objects (e.g., to a large apple when the target was a small one) to investigate how visual scanning drives informativeness across development. Eye-movements reveal that although four-year-olds fixate contrast objects to a similar extent as seven-year-olds and adults, this does not result in explicit referential informativeness. Instead, four-year-olds frequently omit distinguishing information from their referring expressions regardless of the comprehensiveness of their visual scan...
May 9, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Simon Snape, Andrea Krott
Young children are conservative when extending novel verbs to novel exemplars. We investigated whether multiple, simultaneously presented exemplars would aid young children's verb learning, as well as the importance of exemplar variability. Three-year-olds were taught novel verbs, while viewing either one action-scene featuring a novel action performed on a novel object, or two action-scenes side-by-side in which the action performed was the same but the object varied, or two action-scenes side-by-side in which no aspect of the scenes varied...
May 9, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Jennifer Spenader
ABSTRACTProduction studies show connective acquisition by age 3;0, but comprehension studies show errors until 9;0 or older. To further investigate this gap, two comprehension tasks were carried out with 78 Dutch children between the ages of 7;0 and 10;1, testing contrastive maar 'but' and causal want 'because' connectives for comparison. An existing context choice task and a task that tested children's ability to interpret pronouns dependent on the connective were used. Children did well on the context choice task for want 'because', but performed far below chance with maar 'but'...
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
Barbara Davis, Suzanne VAN DER Feest, Hoyoung Yi
This study investigates whether the earliest words children choose to say are mainly words containing sounds they can produce (cf. 'phonological dominance' hypotheses), or whether children choose words without regard to their phonological characteristics (cf. 'lexical dominance' hypotheses). Phonological properties of words in spontaneous speech from six children age 0;8 to 2;11 were analyzed by comparing sound distributions of consonant place and manner. Word-initial and word-final consonant patterns in children's Word Targets versus Actual Word Forms were analyzed as a function of vocabulary size...
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
Mandy R Menke
Rhotics, particularly the trill, are late acquired sounds in Spanish. Reports of Spanish-English bilingual preschoolers document age-appropriate articulations, but studies do not explore productions once exposure to English increases. This paper reports on the rhotic productions of a cross-sectional sample of 31 Spanish-English bilingual children, ages 6;8 to 13;5. Children produced taps with high rates of accuracy across age groups; the trill did not reach 80% target production until age 11;3, later than reported for monolingual speakers...
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
Şeyda Özçalişkan, Lauren B Adamson, Nevena Dimitrova, Jhonelle Bailey, Lauren Schmuck
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
Claire H Noble, Thea Cameron-Faulkner, Elena Lieven
The positive effects of shared book reading on vocabulary and reading development are well attested (e.g., Bus, van Ijzendoorn, & Pellegrini, 1995). However, the role of shared book reading in grammatical development remains unclear. In this study, we conducted a construction-based analysis of caregivers' child-directed speech during shared book reading and toy play and compared the grammatical profile of the child-directed speech generated during the two activities. The findings indicate that (a) the child-directed speech generated by shared book reading contains significantly more grammatically rich constructions than child-directed speech generated by toy play, and (b) the grammatical profile of the book itself affects the grammatical profile of the child-directed speech generated by shared book reading...
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
Julie Gros-Louis, Jennifer L Miller
Social feedback is a driving force for speech development. A recent study provided a key finding to explain how contingent responses influence developmental change: infant speech-related vocalizations are contingent on responses to prior speech-related vocalizations (Warlaumont et al., 2014). However, the study did not distinguish between different speech-related vocalizations, vowel-like (V) and consonant-vowel (CV) vocalizations, which is important because CV vocalizations are a precursor to words. The present study explored parents' responses to infants' vocalizations and infants' subsequent vocal production at a point when vocalizations become more like adult speech...
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
Eglė Savičiūtė, Ben Ambridge, Julian M Pine
Four- and five-year-old children took part in an elicited familiar and novel Lithuanian noun production task to test predictions of input-based accounts of the acquisition of inflectional morphology. Two major findings emerged. First, as predicted by input-based accounts, correct production rates were correlated with the input frequency of the target form, and with the phonological neighbourhood density of the noun. Second, the error patterns were not compatible with the systematic substitution of target forms by either (a) the most frequent form of that noun or (b) a single morphosyntactic default form, as might be predicted by naive versions of a constructivist and generativist account, respectively...
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
Sarah J Owens, Justine M Thacker, Susan A Graham
Speech disfluencies can guide the ways in which listeners interpret spoken language. Here, we examined whether three-year-olds, five-year-olds, and adults use filled pauses to anticipate that a speaker is likely to refer to a novel object. Across three experiments, participants were presented with pairs of novel and familiar objects and heard a speaker refer to one of the objects using a fluent ("Look at the ball/lep!") or disfluent ("Look at thee uh ball/lep!") expression. The salience of the speaker's unfamiliarity with the novel referents, and the way in which the speaker referred to the novel referents (i...
May 2018: Journal of Child Language
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