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Journal of Child Language

Joanne Arciuli, Kirrie J Ballard
Lexical stress is the contrast between strong and weak syllables within words. Ballard et al. (2012) examined the amount of stress contrastivity across adjacent syllables in word productions of typically developing three- to seven-year-olds and adults. Here, eight- to eleven-year-olds are compared with the adults from Ballard et al. using acoustic measurements of relative contrast in duration, peak intensity, and peak fundamental frequency of the vowels within the initial two syllables of each word. While eight- to eleven-year-olds are closer to adult-like stress contrastivity than three- to seven-year-olds, they are not yet adult-like in terms of the intensity contrast for words beginning with a weak syllable...
October 21, 2016: Journal of Child Language
Anneleen BODERé, Koen Jaspaert
Recent research indicates that infants can learn novel words equally well through addressed speech as through overhearing two adult experimenters. The current study examined to which extent six-year-old children learn from overhearing opportunities in regular kindergarten classroom practices. Fifty-three children (M age = 5;6) were exposed to a story with twelve novel words in three different conditions. In the Addressed condition, children were directly addressed to listen to the story. In the Overhearing Classroom, the children were assigned to a task within earshot of the children of the Addressed condition...
October 17, 2016: Journal of Child Language
Olivier Mascaro, Olivier Morin, Dan Sperber
We suggest that preschoolers' frequent obliviousness to the risks and opportunities of deception comes from a trusting stance supporting verbal communication. Three studies (N = 125) confirm this hypothesis. Three-year-olds can hide information from others (Study 1) and they can lie (Study 2) in simple settings. Yet when one introduces the possibility of informing others in the very same settings, three-year-olds tend to be honest (Studies 1 and 2). Similarly, four-year-olds, though capable of treating assertions as false, trust deceptive informants (Study 3)...
October 17, 2016: Journal of Child Language
Catherine E Laing, Marilyn Vihman, Tamar Keren-Portnoy
Onomatopoeia are frequently identified amongst infants' earliest words (Menn & Vihman, 2011), yet few authors have considered why this might be, and even fewer have explored this phenomenon empirically. Here we analyze mothers' production of onomatopoeia in infant-directed speech (IDS) to provide an input-based perspective on these forms. Twelve mothers were recorded interacting with their 8-month-olds; onomatopoeic words (e.g. quack) were compared acoustically with their corresponding conventional words (duck)...
September 27, 2016: Journal of Child Language
Rana Abu-Zhaya, Amanda Seidl, Alejandrina Cristia
Both touch and speech independently have been shown to play an important role in infant development. However, little is known about how they may be combined in the input to the child. We examined the use of touch and speech together by having mothers read their 5-month-olds books about body parts and animals. Results suggest that speech+touch multimodal events are characterized by more exaggerated touch and speech cues. Further, our results suggest that maternal touches are aligned with speech and that mothers tend to touch their infants in locations that are congruent with names of body parts...
August 30, 2016: Journal of Child Language
Katsura Aoyama, Barbara L Davis
The goal of this study was to investigate non-adjacent consonant sequence patterns in target words during the first-word period in infants learning American English. In the spontaneous speech of eighteen participants, target words with a Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (C1VC2) shape were analyzed. Target words were grouped into nine types, categorized by place of articulation (labial, coronal, dorsal) of initial and final consonants (e.g. mom, labial-labial; mat, labial-coronal; dog, coronal-dorsal). The results indicated that some consonant sequences occurred much more frequently than others in early target words...
August 15, 2016: Journal of Child Language
Katharina Zahner, Muna Schönhuber, Bettina Braun
We tested German nine-month-olds' reliance on pitch and metrical stress for segmentation. In a headturn-preference paradigm, infants were familiarized with trisyllabic words (weak-strong-weak (WSW) stress pattern) in sentence-contexts. The words were presented in one of three naturally occurring intonation conditions: one in which high pitch was aligned with the stressed syllable and two misalignment conditions (with high pitch preceding vs. following the stressed syllable). Infants were tested on the SW unit of the WSW carriers...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Tomoko Tatsumi, Julian M Pine
The present study investigated children's early use of verb inflection in Japanese by comparing a generativist account, which predicts that the past tense will have a special default-like status for the child during the early stages, with a constructivist input-driven account, which assumes that children's acquisition and use of inflectional forms reflects verb-specific distributional patterns in their input. Analysis of naturalistic data from four Japanese children aged 1;5 to 2;10 showed that there was substantial by-verb variation in the use of inflectional forms from the earliest stages of verb use, and no general preference for past tense forms...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Ena Vukatana, Suzanne Curtin, Susan A Graham
We investigated 16- and 20-month-olds' flexibility in mapping phonotactically illegal words to objects. Using an associative word-learning task, infants were presented with a training phase that either highlighted or did not highlight the referential status of a novel label. Infants were then habituated to two novel objects, each paired with a phonotactically illegal Czech word. When referential cues were provided, 16-, but not 20-month-olds, formed word-object mappings. In the absence of referential cues, infants of both ages failed to map the novel words...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Arik Lévy, Pascal Gygax, Ute Gabriel, Pascal Zesiger
Using a preferential looking paradigm, the current study examined the role that grammatical gender plays when preschool French-speaking toddlers process role nouns in the masculine form (e.g., chanteurs masculine 'singers'). While being auditorily prompted with "Look at the 'a role noun'!", two- and three-year-olds were presented with two pictures of two characters ('boy-boy' versus 'girl-boy') with attributes of the given role noun (e.g., singers with microphone and music notes). All role nouns were presented in the masculine plural form, which, despite its use to refer to mixed-gender groups, can be interpreted as referring to men...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Marisa Casillas, Susan C Bobb, Eve V Clark
Young children answer questions with longer delays than adults do, and they don't reach typical adult response times until several years later. We hypothesized that this prolonged pattern of delay in children's timing results from competing demands: to give an answer, children must understand a question while simultaneously planning and initiating their response. Even as children get older and more efficient in this process, the demands on them increase because their verbal responses become more complex. We analyzed conversational question-answer sequences between caregivers and their children from ages 1;8 to 3;5, finding that children (1) initiate simple answers more quickly than complex ones, (2) initiate simple answers quickly from an early age, and (3) initiate complex answers more quickly as they grow older...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Kirsten Abbot-Smith, Erika Nurmsoo, Rebecca Croll, Heather Ferguson, Michael Forrester
Although preschoolers are pervasively underinformative in their actual usage of verbal reference, a number of studies have shown that they nonetheless demonstrate sensitivity to listener informational needs, at least when environmental cues to this are obvious. We investigated two issues. The first concerned the types of visual cues to interlocutor informational needs which children aged 2;6 can process whilst producing complex referring expressions. The second was whether performance in experimental tasks related to naturalistic conversational proficiency...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Ben Ambridge, Ryan P Blything
A central question in language acquisition is how children build linguistic representations that allow them to generalize verbs from one construction to another (e.g., The boy gave a present to the girl → The boy gave the girl a present), whilst appropriately constraining those generalizations to avoid non-adultlike errors (e.g., I said no to her → *I said her no). Although a consensus is emerging that learners solve this problem using both statistical and semantics-based learning procedures (e.g., entrenchment, pre-emption, and semantic verb class formation), there currently exist few - if any - proposals for a learning model that combines these mechanisms...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Virginia C Salo, Meredith L Rowe, Kathryn A Leech, Natasha J Cabrera
Fathers' child-directed speech across two contexts was examined. Father-child dyads from sixty-nine low-income families were videotaped interacting during book reading and toy play when children were 2;0. Fathers used more diverse vocabulary and asked more questions during book reading while their mean length of utterance was longer during toy play. Variation in these specific characteristics of fathers' speech that differed across contexts was also positively associated with child vocabulary skill measured on the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Edy Veneziano, Eve V Clark
Children acquiring French elaborate their early verb constructions by adding adjacent morphemes incrementally at the left edge of core verbs. This hypothesis was tested with 2657 verb uses from four children between 1;3 and 2;7. Consistent with the Adjacency Hypothesis, children added clitic subjects first only to present tense forms (as in il saute 'he jumps'); modals to infinitives (as in faut sauter 'has to jump'); and auxiliaries to past participles (as in a sauté 'has jumped'). Only after this did the children add subjects to the left of a modal or auxiliary, as in elle veut sauter 'she wants to jump', or elle a sauté 'she has jumped'...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Susan A Gelman, Ingrid Sánchez Tapia, Sarah-Jane Leslie
Generic language ( Owls eat at night) expresses knowledge about categories and may represent a cognitively default mode of generalization. English-speaking children and adults more accurately recall generic than quantified sentences ( All owls eat at night) and tend to recall quantified sentences as generic. However, generics in English are shorter than quantified sentences, and may be better recalled for this reason. The present study provided a new test of the issue in Spanish, where generics are expressed with an additional linguistic element not found in certain quantified sentences ( Los búhos comen de noche 'Owls eat at night' [generic] vs...
November 2016: Journal of Child Language
Michelle Macroy-Higgins, Elizabeth A Montemarano
The purpose of this study was to examine attention allocation in toddlers who were late talkers and toddlers with typical language development while they were engaged in a word-learning task in order to determine if differences exist. Two-year-olds who were late talkers (11) and typically developing toddlers (11) were taught twelve novel pseudo-words for unfamiliar objects over ten training sessions. The toddlers' attention allocation during the word-learning sessions was measured as well as their comprehension of the newly learned words...
September 2016: Journal of Child Language
Michael Tomasello
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2016: Journal of Child Language
Isabelle Barrière, Louise Goyet, Sarah Kresh, Géraldine Legendre, Thierry Nazzi
The present study applies a multidimensional methodological approach to the study of the acquisition of morphosyntax. It focuses on evaluating the degree of productivity of an infrequent subject-verb agreement pattern in the early acquisition of French and considers the explanatory role played by factors such as input frequency, semantic transparency of the agreement markers, and perceptual factors in accounting for comprehension of agreement in number (singular vs. plural) in an experimental setting. Results on a pointing task involving pseudo-verbs demonstrate significant comprehension of both singular and plural agreement in children aged 2;6...
September 2016: Journal of Child Language
Mathieu R Saindon, Sandra E Trehub, E Glenn Schellenberg, Pascal VAN Lieshout
Young children are slow to master conventional intonation patterns in their yes/no questions, which may stem from imperfect understanding of the links between terminal pitch contours and pragmatic intentions. In Experiment 1, five- to ten-year-old children and adults were required to judge utterances as questions or statements on the basis of intonation alone. Children eight years of age or younger performed above chance levels but less accurately than adult listeners. To ascertain whether the verbal content of utterances interfered with young children's attention to the relevant acoustic cues, low-pass filtered versions of the same utterances were presented to children and adults in Experiment 2...
September 2016: Journal of Child Language
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