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For children with normal hearing (NH), early communication skills predict vocabulary, a precursor to grammar. Growth in early communication skills of infants with cochlear implants (CIs) was investigated using the Early Communication Indicator (ECI), a play-based observation measure. Multilevel linear growth modelling on data from six ECI sessions held at three-monthly intervals revealed significant growth overall, with a non-significant slower growth rate than that of children with NH (comparison age centred at 18 months). Analyses of gesture use and of nonword vocalisations revealed the CI group used significantly more of each, with more rapid growth. In contrast, the CI group used significantly fewer single words and multiword utterances, and with slower growth. Maternal education and time to achieve consistent CI use impacted significantly on growth for the CI sample. The results indicate that progression to vocabulary by young CI users can be supported by encouraging their use of prelinguistic communication.
The most authoritative resource for students and researchers, The Cambridge Handbook of Child Language has been thoroughly updated and extended. Enhancements include new chapters on the acquisition of words, processing deficits in children with specific language impairments, and language in children with Williams syndrome, new authors for the bilingualism and autism chapters, a refocused discourse chapter on written narratives, and a new section on reading and reading disorders, cementing the handbook's position as the best study of the subject available. In a wide-ranging survey, language development is traced from prelinguistic infancy to adolescence in typical and atypical contexts; the material is intuitively grouped into six thematic sections, enabling readers to easily find specific in-depth information. With topics as varied as statistical learning, bilingualism, and the neurobiology of reading disorders, this multidisciplinary Handbook is an essential reference for students and researchers in linguistics, psychology, cognitive science, speech pathology, education and anthropology.
This study examines potential predictors of ‘precocious talking’ (expressive language ⩾90th percentile) at one and two years of age, and of ‘stability’ in precocious talking across both time periods, drawing on data from a prospective community cohort comprising over 1,800 children. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between precocious talking and the following potential predictors: gender, birth order, birth weight, non-English speaking background, socioeconomic status, maternal age, maternal mental health scores, and vocabulary and educational attainment of parents. The strongest predictors of precocity (being female and having a younger mother) warrant further exploration. Overall, however, it appears that precocity in early vocabulary development is not strongly influenced by the variables examined, which together explained just 2·6% and 1% of the variation at 1 ; 0 and 2 ; 0 respectively.
Evans & Levinson (E&L) argue against Universal Grammar on the basis of language diversity. A related and fundamental issue is whether the language input provides sufficient information for a child to acquire it. I briefly discuss the more integrated approaches to language acquisition which focus on the mechanisms, and research showing that input cues provide valuable information for the language learner.