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Journal of Child Language

Jessica Sullivan, Kathryn Davidson, Shirlene Wade, David Barner
During acquisition, children must learn both the meanings of words and how to interpret them in context. For example, children must learn the logical semantics of the scalar quantifier some and its pragmatically enriched meaning: 'some but not all'. Some studies have shown that 'scalar implicature' - that some implies 'some but not all' - poses a challenge even to nine-year-olds, while others find success by age three. We asked whether reports of children's successes might be due to the computation of exclusion inferences (like contrast or mutual exclusivity) rather than scalar implicatures...
April 10, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Jingtao Zhu, Anna Gavarró
Parameter setting is either precipitous (Gibson & Wexler, 1994) or it is gradual in response to input frequency (Yang, 2002, 2004). In this study, we compare these models against the empirical domain of subject and (direct) object drop in Mandarin. We conducted a corpus-based study of the speech of 47 Mandarin-speaking children aged 1;2-6;5, and their caregivers, from the CHILDES database. The results show that before age 1;8 all the children used null subjects and null objects in a target-like fashion, which reveals that the parameter that governs null topics is set from very early on, even if the presence of disambiguating evidence for [+Null Topic] patterns is low...
April 2, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Denise Davidson, Sandra B Vanegas, Elizabeth Hilvert, Vanessa R Rainey, Ieva Misiunaite
In this study, monolingual (English) and bilingual (English/Spanish, English/Urdu) five- and six-year-old children completed a grammaticality judgment test in order to assess their awareness of the grammaticality of two types of syntactic constructions in English: word order and gender representation. All children were better at detecting grammatically correct and incorrect word order constructions than gender constructions, regardless of language group. In fact, bilingualism per se did not impact the results as much as receptive vocabulary range...
March 14, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Irene Cadime, Célia S Moreira, Ana Lúcia Santos, Carla Silva, Iolanda Ribeiro, Fernanda Leopoldina Viana
The goals of this study were to analyze the growth and stability of vocabulary, mean length of the three longest utterances (MLLUw), and sentence complexity in European Portuguese-speaking children aged 1;4-2;6, to explore differences in growth as a function of personal and family-related variables, and to investigate the inter-relationships among the three language dimensions. Fifty-one European Portuguese-speaking toddlers were longitudinally assessed at 1;4, 1;9, 2;1, and 2;6, through parent reports. Exponential growth models best described acquisition patterns during this period, but the vocabulary growth accelerated across the full age-range, whereas the growth of grammar dimensions accelerated mainly after 1;9...
March 14, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Tiffany Boersma, Judith Rispens, Fred Weerman, Anne Baker
Phonological characteristics and frequencies of stems and allomorphs have been explored as possible factors causing differences in production accuracies between allomorphic forms. However, previous findings are not consistent and the relative contributions of these factors are unclear. This study investigated target and erroneous productions of the Dutch diminutive, which has five allomorphs with varying type frequencies and of which the selection depends on the phonological characteristics of the stems. Typically developing children (N = 115, 5;1-10;3) were tested on their production of real and nonce diminutives...
March 11, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Valery Limia, Şeyda Özçalişkan, Erika Hoff
Monolingual children identify referents uniquely in gesture before they do so with words, and parents translate these gestures into words. Children benefit from these translations, acquiring the words that their parents translated earlier than the ones that are not translated. Are bilingual children as likely as monolingual children to identify referents uniquely in gesture; and do parental translations have the same positive impact on the vocabulary development of bilingual children? Our results showed that the bilingual children - dominant in English or in Spanish - were as likely as monolingual children to identify referents uniquely in gesture...
March 11, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Elizabeth Morin-Lessard, Krista Byers-Heinlein
Previous research suggests that English monolingual children and adults can use speech disfluencies (e.g., uh) to predict that a speaker will name a novel object. To understand the origins of this ability, we tested 48 32-month-old children (monolingual English, monolingual French, bilingual English-French; Study 1) and 16 adults (bilingual English-French; Study 2). Our design leveraged the distinct realizations of English (uh) versus French (euh) disfluencies. In a preferential-looking paradigm, participants saw familiar-novel object pairs (e...
March 4, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Rebecca Waring, Susan Rickard Liow, Patricia Eadie, Barbara Dodd
Emerging evidence suggests domain-general processes, including working memory, may contribute to reduced speech production skills in young children. This study compared the phonological short-term (pSTM) and phonological working memory (pWM) abilities of 50 monolingual English-speaking children between 3;6 and 5;11 with typical speech production skills and percentage consonant correct (PCC) standard scores of 12 and above (n = 22) and typical speech production skills and PCC standard scores of between 8 and 11 (n = 28)...
March 4, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Vinaya Rajan, Haruka Konishi, Katherine Ridge, Derek M Houston, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Nancy Eastman, Richard G Schwartz
Several aspects of early language skills, including parent-report measures of vocabulary, phoneme discrimination, speech segmentation, and speed of lexical access predict later childhood language outcomes. To date, no studies have examined the long-term predictive validity of novel word learning. We examined whether individual differences in novel word learning at 21 months predict later childhood receptive vocabulary outcomes rather than generalized cognitive abilities. Twenty-eight 21-month-olds were taught novel words using a modified version of the Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm...
February 26, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Michelle A Gremp, Joanne A Deocampo, Anne M Walk, Christopher M Conway
This study investigated the role of sequential processing in spoken language outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH), ages 5;3-11;4, by comparing them to children with typical hearing (TH), ages 6;3-9;7, on sequential learning and memory tasks involving easily nameable and difficult-to-name visual stimuli. Children who are DHH performed more poorly on easily nameable sequencing tasks, which positively predicted receptive vocabulary scores. Results suggest sequential learning and memory may underlie delayed language skills of many children who are DHH...
February 26, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Charlotte Wray, Natalie Saunders, Courtenay Frazier Norbury
Gesture plays an important role in early language development, as how parents respond to their children's gestures may help to facilitate language acquisition. Less is known about whether parental responses facilitate language learning later in childhood and whether responses vary depending on children's language ability. This study explored parental responses to extending gestures in a sample of school-aged children (aged six to eight years) with developmental language disorder, low-language and educational concerns, and typically developing children...
February 18, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Pasquale Rinaldi, Patrizio Pasqualetti, Silvia Stefanini, Arianna Bello, Maria Cristina Caselli
One of the most popular and widely used parent report instruments for assessing early language acquisition is the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MB-CDI). This study compares normative data of the Italian Words and Sentences complete form (WS-CF) and short form (WS-SF). The samples included 752 children for the WS-CF and 816 children for the WS-SF designed for children aged 18-36 months. The concordance between WS-SF and WS-CF is analyzed in a subgroup of 65 children. The results revealed strong correlations between WS-CF and WS-SF in both lexical and grammar skills as well as strong relationship between lexical and grammar skills...
February 18, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Evelyn Bosma, Elma Blom
Previous research has shown that in a minority-majority language context, the quantity of language input at home is more important for the development of the minority language than for the development of the majority language. In the current study, we examined whether the same holds true for the frequency of specific language activities at home. In a group of five- and six-year-old Frisian-Dutch bilingual children (n = 120), we investigated to what extent vocabulary and morphology knowledge were predicted by reading activities, watching TV, and story-telling activities in both languages...
February 18, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Tulin Guler Yildiz, Mubeccel Gonen, Ayca Ulker Erdem, Aileen Garcia, Helen Raikes, Ibrahim H Acar, Firdevs Burcak, Figen Turan, Sadiye Can Gul, Dawn Davis
This study examined the relations between receptive language development and other developmental domains of preschoolers from low-income families, through an inter-cultural perspective involving the United States and Turkey. A total of 471 children and their caregivers participated in Turkey, while 287 participated in the United States. Children's development was assessed using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire for both samples. Different versions of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test were used for Turkish and US samples, to measure receptive language development...
January 31, 2019: Journal of Child Language
Whitney Goodrich Smith, Alexis K Black, Carla L Hudson Kam
This study explores whether children can learn a structural processing bias relevant to pronoun interpretation from brief training. Over three days, 42 five-year-olds were exposed to narratives exhibiting a first-mentioned tendency. Two characters were introduced, and the first-mentioned was later described engaging in a solo activity. In our primary condition of interest, the Gesture Training condition, the solo-activity sentence contained an ambiguous pronoun, but co-speech gesture clarified the referent...
January 18, 2019: 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
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