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Diversity matters: parent input predicts toddler verb production*



The contribution of parent input to children's subsequent expressive verb diversity was explored in twenty typically developing toddlers with small verb lexicons. Child developmental factors and parent input measures (i.e. verb quantity, verb diversity, and verb-related structural cues) at age 1;9 were examined as potential predictors of children's verb production in spontaneous language samples at age 2;3. Parent verb input diversity, rather than input quantity, was the primary input factor contributing to children's subsequent verb diversity. Regression analysis showed that verb diversity in parent input at age 1;9 accounted for 30% of the variance in children's verb production six months later, with children's total vocabulary size at age 1;9 accounting for an additional 16% of the variance. These findings demonstrate the relative contributions of developmental and input factors to individual differences in toddlers’ language development and establish the importance of input diversity to verb acquisition.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Ning Hsu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, 901 South Sixth Street, Champaign, Illinois, IL 61820, United States. e-mail:


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Data collection of the archival database used in this study was supported by BCS-08-22513, NSF awarded to Matthew Rispoli. This paper is based upon Ning Hsu's Doctoral Early Research Project completed at the University of Illinois, and was supported by an Illinois Distinguished Fellowship from the Graduate College of the University of Illinois. Portions of this paper were previously presented at the 2014 Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI. We are grateful to numerous students who assisted in data collection, transcription, and analyses. Our sincere appreciation extends to participating parents and children who made the work possible.



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Diversity matters: parent input predicts toddler verb production*



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