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Information level and young children's phonological accuracy*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Lisa Goffman
Affiliation:
Purdue University
Richard G. Schwartz*
Affiliation:
City University of New York
Klara Marton
Affiliation:
City University of New York
*
Address for correspondence: Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York, 33 West 42 Street, New York, NY 10036, USA, e-mail rschwartz@gc.cuny.edu.

Abstract

The influence of information level on the production accuracy of 20 children (22 to 28 months) was examined. The data were children's productions of nouns in sets of utterances referring to triplets of pictures representing noun-verb-noun utterances. In each triplet one noun remained the same, thus decreasing in information value from the first to the third picture (new, moderately old, and old information). Words representing new information were produced more accurately than words representing old information. The types of errors did not differ. Further evidence of this effect was provided by an examination of the duration of new versus old word productions by 12 of the children. Productions encoding new information were consistently longer on average than those encoding old information. The results provide experimental evidence of an effect observed in adults that indicates early sensitivity to information level. However, because of the children's young age, the effects are characterized as a speaker-internal process that only serendipitously corresponds to listener needs.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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Footnotes

[*]

Support was provided by Grant RO1 DC 00583–05, Input-output relationships in speech and language impairments, from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This research was part of a thesis conducted by the first author under the direction of the second author at Purdue University. George Allen and Ronnie Wilbur provided valuable suggestions as thesis committee members. Karen Pollock's assistance in reliability assessments and her discussions with the authors on these topics are gratefully acknowledged.

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