To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Two experiments tested whether Russian-speaking children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) are sensitive to gender agreement when performing a gender decision task. In Experiment 1, the presence of overt gender agreement between verbs and/or adjectival modifiers and postverbal subject nouns memory was varied. In Experiment 2, agreement violations were introduced and the targets varied between words, pseudo-words, or pseudo-words with derivational suffixes. In both experiments, children with DLD did not differ from typically developing children in their reaction time or sensitivity to agreement features. In both groups, trials with feminine gender resulted in a higher error rate. Children with DLD displayed lower overall accuracy, which was related to differences in phonological memory in both experiments. Furthermore, in Experiment 1 group differences were not maintained after phonological memory was entered as a covariate. The results are discussed with respect to various processing and linguistic theories of DLD.
Echolalia is a pervasive phenomenon in verbal children with autism, traditionally conceived of as an automatic behavior with no communicative function. However, recently it has been shown that echoes may serve interactional goals. This article, which presents a case study of a six-year-old child with autism, examines how social interaction organizes autism echolalia and how repetitive speech responds to discernible interactional trajectories. Using linguistic, discourse, and acoustic analyses, we demonstrate that the child is able to mobilize echolalia to mark different stances, through the segmental and suprasegmental modulation of echoes. We offer an interpretive framework that deepens our understanding of the complex interactions that children with autism can engage in by using echoes, and discuss the implications of this perspective for current views of atypical language development in autism.
We examined reciprocal associations between early maternal language use and children's language and cognitive development in seventy ethnically diverse, low-income families. Mother–child dyads were videotaped when children were aged 2;0 and 3;0. Video transcripts were analyzed for quantity and lexical diversity of maternal and child language. Child cognitive development was assessed at both ages and child receptive vocabulary was assessed at age 3;0. Maternal language related to children's lexical diversity at each age, and maternal language at age 2;0, was associated with children's receptive vocabulary and cognitive development at age 3;0. Furthermore, children's cognitive development at age 2;0 was associated with maternal language at age 3;0 controlling for maternal language at age 2;0, suggesting bi-directionality in mother–child associations. The quantity and diversity of the language children hear at home has developmental implications for children from low-income households. In addition, children's early cognitive skills further feed into their subsequent language experiences.
This study tested the predictions of the procedural deficit hypothesis by investigating the relationship between sequential statistical learning and two aspects of lexical ability, lexical-phonological and lexical-semantic, in children with and without specific language impairment (SLI). Participants included forty children (ages 8;5–12;3), twenty children with SLI and twenty with typical development. Children completed Saffran's statistical word segmentation task, a lexical-phonological access task (gating task), and a word definition task. Poor statistical learners were also poor at managing lexical-phonological competition during the gating task. However, statistical learning was not a significant predictor of semantic richness in word definitions. The ability to track statistical sequential regularities may be important for learning the inherently sequential structure of lexical-phonological, but not as important for learning lexical-semantic knowledge. Consistent with the procedural/declarative memory distinction, the brain networks associated with the two types of lexical learning are likely to have different learning properties.
Little research has explored how preschools can support children's second-language (L2) vocabulary development. This study keenly followed the progress of twemty-six Turkish immigrant children growing up in Norway from preschool (age five) to fifth grade (age ten). Four different measures of preschool talk exposure (amount and diversity of teacher-led group talk and amount and diversity of peer talk), as well as the demographic variables of maternal education and co-ethnic concentration in the neighborhood, were employed to predict the children's L2 vocabulary trajectories. The results of growth analyses revealed that maternal education was the only variable predicting children's vocabulary growth during the elementary years. However, teacher-led talk, peer talk, and neighborhood predicted children's L2 vocabulary skills at age five, and these differences were maintained up to age ten. This study underscores the importance of both preschool talk exposure (teacher-led talk and peer talk) and demographic factors on L2 learners' vocabulary development.
This article demonstrates how the Comparative Method can be applied to cross-linguistic research on language acquisition. The Comparative Method provides a systematic procedure for organizing and interpreting acquisition data from different languages. The Comparative Method controls for cross-linguistic differences at all levels of the grammar and is especially useful in drawing attention to variation in contexts of use across languages. This article uses the Comparative Method to analyze the acquisition of verb suffixes in two Mayan languages: K'iche' and Yucatec. Mayan status suffixes simultaneously mark distinctions in verb transitivity, verb class, mood, and clause position. Two-year-old children acquiring K'iche' and Yucatec Maya accurately produce the status suffixes on verbs, in marked distinction to the verbal prefixes for aspect and agreement. We find evidence that the contexts of use for the suffixes differentially promote the children's production of cognate status suffixes in K'iche' and Yucatec.
Children's ability to learn and retain new words is fundamental to their vocabulary development. This study examined word retention in children learning a home language (L1) from birth and a second language (L2) in preschool settings. Participants were presented with sixteen novel words in L1 and in L2 and were tested for retention after either a 2-month or a 4-month delay. Results showed that children retained more words in L1 than in L2 for both of the retention interval conditions. In addition, children's word retention was associated with their existing language knowledge and their fast-mapping performance within and across language. The patterns of association, however, were different between L1 and L2. These findings suggest that children's word retention might be related to the interactions of various components that are operating within a dynamic system.
Previous studies on the role of vowel harmony in word segmentation are based on artificial languages where harmonic cues reliably signal word boundaries. In this corpus study run on the data available at CHILDES, we investigated whether natural languages provide a learner with reliable segmentation cues similar to the ones created artificially. We observed that in harmonic languages (child-directed speech to thirty-five Turkish and three Hungarian children), but not in non-harmonic ones (child-directed speech to one Farsi and four Polish children), harmonic vowel sequences are more likely to appear within words, and non-harmonic ones mostly appear across word boundaries, suggesting that natural harmonic languages provide a learner with regular cues that could potentially be used for word segmentation along with other cues.
Children understand gesture+speech combinations in which a deictic gesture adds new information to the accompanying speech by age 1;6 (Morford & Goldin-Meadow, 1992; ‘push’+point at ball). This study explores how early children understand gesture+speech combinations in which an iconic gesture conveys additional information not found in the accompanying speech (e.g., ‘read’+BOOK gesture). Our analysis of two- to four-year-old children's responses in a gesture+speech comprehension task showed that children grasp the meaning of iconic co-speech gestures by age three and continue to improve their understanding with age. Overall, our study highlights the important role gesture plays in language comprehension as children learn to unpack increasingly complex communications addressed to them at the early ages.
Adults distinguish sarcasm from literal language according to intonation involving a reduction in fundamental frequency (F0). We examined whether children's and adults' interpretation of a sarcastic speaker's belief, attitude, and humor was affected by degree of F0 reduction by presenting five- to six-year-olds and adults with sarcastic and literal criticisms with a small, medium, or large mean F0 reduction. Children and adults were more accurate in attributing the speaker's belief and intent for sarcastic criticisms for large F0 reductions compared to small reductions. These results show that F0 reduction is a helpful cue to sarcasm interpretation for both children and adults.