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Journal of Child Language

Merel M VAN Goch, Ludo Verhoeven, James M McQueen
In lexical development, the specificity of phonological representations is important. The ability to build phonologically specific lexical representations predicts the number of words a child knows (vocabulary breadth), but it is not clear if it also fosters how well words are known (vocabulary depth). Sixty-six children were studied in kindergarten (age 5;7) and first grade (age 6;8). The predictive value of the ability to learn phonologically similar new words, phoneme discrimination ability, and phonological awareness on vocabulary breadth and depth were assessed using hierarchical regression...
September 21, 2018: Journal of Child Language
A Delcenserie, F Genesee, N Trudeau, F Champoux
A battery of standardized language tests and control measures was administered to three groups of at-risk language learners - internationally adopted children, deaf children with cochlear implants, and children with specific language impairment - and to groups of second-language learners and typically developing monolingual children. All children were acquiring French, were matched on age, gender, and socioeconomic status, and were between age 5;0 and 7;3 at the time of testing. Differences between the at-risk and not-at-risk groups were evident in all domains of language testing...
September 17, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Joanne Arciuli, Benjamin Bailey
In this exploratory study, we examined stress contrastivity within real word productions elicited via picture naming in 20 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 20 typical peers group-wise matched on age and vocabulary. Targets had a dominant pattern of lexical stress beginning with a strong-weak pattern (SW: 'caterpillar', 'butterfly') or a non-dominant pattern of lexical stress beginning with a weak-strong pattern (WS: 'tomato', 'potato'). Children produced each target twice (n = 320 productions)...
September 12, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Laura Franchin, Federica Savazzi, Isabel Cristina Neira-Gutierrez, Luca Surian
Infants begin to understand some of the meanings of the adjective good at around thirteen months, but it is not clear when they start to map it to concepts in the moral domain. We investigated infants' and toddlers' knowledge of good in the domains of help and fairness. Participants at 20 and 30 months were shown computer animations involving helpful and hindering agents, or agents who performed fair or unfair distributions, and were asked to "pick the good one". Toddlers at 30 months took good as referring to helping, but not to the fair agents...
September 5, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Katalin Tamási, Cristina McKean, Adamantios Gafos, Barbara Höhle
In a preferential looking paradigm, we studied how children's looking behavior and pupillary response were modulated by the degree of phonological mismatch between the correct label of a target referent and its manipulated form. We manipulated degree of mismatch by introducing one or more featural changes to the target label. Both looking behavior and pupillary response were sensitive to degree of mismatch, corroborating previous studies that found differential responses in one or the other measure. Using time-course analyses, we present for the first time results demonstrating full separability among conditions (detecting difference not only between one vs...
September 4, 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...
August 13, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Ping Tang, Ivan Yuen, Nan Xu Rattanasone, Liqun Gao, Katherine Demuth
Weak syllables in Germanic and Romance languages have been reported to be challenging for young children, with syllable omission and/or incomplete reduction persisting till age five. In Mandarin Chinese, neutral tone (T0) involves a weak syllable with varied pitch realizations across (preceding) tonal contexts and short duration. The present study examined how and when T0 was acquired by 108 Beijing Mandarin-speaking children (3-5 years) relative to 33 adult controls. Lexicalized (familiar) and non-lexicalized (unfamiliar) T0 words were elicited in different preceding tonal contexts...
August 2, 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...
August 1, 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...
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
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...
September 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...
September 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)...
September 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...
September 2018: Journal of Child Language
Jing Yang
This study compared the temporal measurements of stop consonants in 29 three- to six-year-old Mandarin-speaking children and 12 Mandarin-speaking adults. Each participant produced 18 Mandarin disyllabic words which contained six stop consonants /p, pʰ, t, tʰ, k, kʰ/ each followed by three vowels /a, i, u/ at the word-initial position in the first syllable. The temporal measurements of VOT, overall burst duration, average duration per burst, number of bursts, and VOT-lag duration were obtained. Although adult-like short-lag VOTs were achieved in all children, the long-lag VOTs were widespread in the younger group and gradually developed to a concentrated distribution in the older children...
September 2018: Journal of Child Language
Dorthe Bleses, Werner Vach, Philip S Dale
Vocabulary input frequency influences age of acquisition, and is also an essential control for investigating the influence of other factors. We propose a new method of frequency estimation, self-report. 918 Danish-speaking parents of 12-36-month-old children estimated their frequency of use of 725 words. Self-report was substantially correlated with both language sample based frequencies (0.67) and frequencies of a large written corpus of Danish (0.58). Correlations within vocabulary categories between frequency and age of acquisition, restricted to words occurring in the language samples, were comparable for the two estimates...
September 2018: Journal of Child Language
Insa Gülzow, Victoria Bartlitz, Milena Kuehnast, Felix Golcher, Dagmar Bittner
We analyzed the conversational corpora of two German and two English children to investigate how the different use types of the adversative connectives aber and but influence the probability of monologically versus dialogically constructed utterances in the first year of use. Our findings show that children produce adversative connectives mainly in dialogic structures for illocutionary and theme-management purposes, but that the use types of adversative connectives lead to a different distribution of monologic and dialogic clause combinations...
September 2018: Journal of Child Language
Marina Kalashnikova, Denis Burnham
This longitudinal study assessed three acoustic components of maternal infant-directed speech (IDS) - pitch, affect, and vowel hyperarticulation - in relation to infants' age and their expressive vocabulary size. These three individual components were measured in IDS addressed to infants at 7, 9, 11, 15, and 19 months (N = 18). All three components were exaggerated at all ages in mothers' IDS compared to their adult-directed speech. Importantly, the only significant predictor of infants' expressive vocabulary size at 15 and 19 months was vowel hyperarticulation, but only at 9 months and beyond, not at 7 months, and not pitch or affect at any age...
September 2018: Journal of Child Language
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