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Journal of Child Language

Marinella Majorano, Tamara Bastianello, Marika Morelli, Manuela Lavelli, Marilyn M Vihman
Previous studies have demonstrated an effect of early vocal production on infants' speech processing and later vocabulary. This study focuses on the relationship between vocal production and new word learning. Thirty monolingual Italian-learning infants were recorded at about 11 months, to establish the extent of their consonant production. In parallel, the infants were trained on novel word-object pairs, two consisting of early learned consonants (ELC), two consisting of late learned consonants (LLC). Word learning was assessed through Preferential Looking...
January 11, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Sabrina Horvath, Leslie Rescorla, Sudha Arunachalam
Children with language disorders have particular difficulty with verbs, but when this difficulty emerges is unknown. We examined syntactic (transitive, intransitive, ditransitive) and semantic (manner, result) features of two-year-olds' verb vocabularies, contrasting late talkers and typically developing children to look for early differences in verb vocabulary. We conducted a retrospective analysis of parent-reported expressive vocabulary from the Language Development Survey (N = 564, N(LT) = 62) (Rescorla, 1989)...
January 11, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Helena Levy, Lars Konieczny, Adriana Hanulíková
Substantial individual differences exist in regard to type and amount of experience with variable speech resulting from foreign or regional accents. Whereas prior experience helps with processing familiar accents, research on how experience with accented speech affects processing of unfamiliar accents is inconclusive, ranging from perceptual benefits to processing disadvantages. We examined how experience with accented speech modulates mono- and bilingual children's (mean age: 9;10) ease of speech comprehension for two unfamiliar accents in German, one foreign and one regional...
January 8, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Valerie San Juan, Carol Lin, Heather Mackenzie, Suzanne Curtin, Susan A Graham
We examined if and when English-learning 17-month-olds would accommodate Japanese forms as labels for novel objects. In Experiment 1, infants (n = 22) who were habituated to Japanese word-object pairs looked longer at switched test pairs than familiar test pairs, suggesting that they had mapped Japanese word forms to objects. In Experiments 2 (n = 44) and 3 (n = 22), infants were presented with a spoken passage prior to habituation to assess whether experience with a different language would shift their perception of Japanese word forms...
December 21, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Margaret Kehoe, Mélanie Havy
This study examines the influence of language-internal (frequency and complexity of linguistic properties), language-external (percent French input, socioeconomic status (SES), and gender), and lexical factors (size of total and French vocabulary) on the phonological production abilities of monolingual and bilingual French-speaking children, aged 2;6. Children participated in an object and picture naming task in which they produced words selected to test different phonological properties. The bilinguals' first languages were coded in terms of the frequency and complexity of these phonological properties...
December 18, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Matthias Deckert, Michaela Schmoeger, Ines Schaunig-Busch, Ulrike Willinger
Metaphor development in conjunction with verbal intelligence and linguistic competence in middle childhood and at the transition to early adolescence was investigated. 298 individuals between seven and ten years (chronological age) who attended grades two-four (mental age) were tested for metaphor processing by the Metaphoric Triads Task, for linguistic competence (HELD), and verbal intelligence (WISC-III). Chronological age significantly predicted metaphor processing with a breakpoint of 8.2 years regarding identification and comprehension, and 10...
December 18, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Serena Lecce, Luca Ronchi, Paola Del Sette, Luca Bischetti, Valentina Bambini
We investigated the association between individual differences in metaphor understanding and Theory of Mind (ToM) in typically developing children. We distinguished between two types of metaphors and created a Physical and Mental Metaphors task, echoing a similar distinction for ToM. Nine-year-olds scored lower than older age-groups in ToM as well as in the interpretation of mental, but not physical, metaphors. Moreover, nine-year-olds (but not older children) who are better in ToM are also better in interpreting mental, but not physical, metaphors...
November 16, 2018: 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
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
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...
November 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)...
November 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...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
Tessa Bent
School-age children's understanding of unfamiliar accents is not adult-like and the age at which this ability fully matures is unknown. To address this gap, eight- to fifteen-year-old children's (n = 74) understanding of native- and non-native-accented sentences in quiet and noise was assessed. Children's performance was adult-like by eleven to twelve years for the native accent in noise and by fourteen to fifteen years for the non-native accent in quiet. However, fourteen- to fifteen-year old's performance was not adult-like for the non-native accent in noise...
November 2018: Journal of Child Language
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