Functional reorganization in the developing lexicon: Separable and changing influences of lexical and phonological variables on children's fast-mapping

Cristina McKean*, Carolyn Letts, David Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neighbourhood Density (ND) and Phonotactic Probability (PP) influence word learning in children. This influence appears to change over development but the separate developmental trajectories of influence of PP and ND on word learning have not previously been mapped. This study examined the cross-sectional developmental trajectories of influence of PP and ND on fast-mapping in thirty-eight English-speaking children aged 3 ; 01-5 ; 02, in a task varying PP and ND orthogonally. PP and ND exerted separable influences on fast-mapping. Overall, low ND supported better fast-mapping. The influence of PP changed across the developmental trajectory, 'switching' from a high to a low PP advantage. A potential explanation for this 'switch' is advanced, suggesting that it represents functional reorganization in the developing lexicon, which emerges from changes in the developing lexicon, as phonological knowledge is abstracted from lexical knowledge, over development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-335
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

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