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The influences of number of syllables and wordlikeness on children’s repetition of nonwords

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Susan E. Gathercole
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Cath Willis
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Hazel Emslie
Affiliation:
MRC Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, England
Alan D. Baddeley
Affiliation:
MRC Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, England

Abstract

It has recently been suggested that the developmental association between nonword repetition performance and vocabulary knowledge reflects the contribution of phonological memory processes to vocabulary acquisition (e.g., Gathercole & Baddeley, 1989). An alternative account of the association is that the child uses existing vocabulary knowledge to support memory for nonwords. The present article tests between these two alternative accounts by evaluating the role of phonological memory and linguistic factors in nonword repetition. In a longitudinal database, repetition accuracy in 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds was found to be sensitive to two independent factors: a phonological memory factor, nonword length, and a linguistic factor, wordlikeness. To explain these combined influences, it is suggested that repeating nonwords involves temporary phonological memory storage which may be supported by either a specific lexical analogy or by an appropriate abstract phonological frame generated from structurally similar vocabulary items.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1991

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