Triggering word learning in children with Language Impairment

The effect of phonotactic probability and neighbourhood density

Cristina McKean*, Carolyn Letts, David Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effect of phonotactic probability (PP) and neighbourhood density (ND) on triggering word learning was examined in children with Language Impairment (3;04-6;09) and compared to Typically Developing children. Nonwords, varying PP and ND orthogonally, were presented in a story context and their learning tested using a referent identification task. Group comparisons with receptive vocabulary as a covariate found no group differences in overall scores or in the influence of PP or ND. Therefore, there was no evidence of atypical lexical or phonological processing. 'Convergent' PP/ND (High PP/High ND; Low PP/Low ND) was optimal for word learning in both groups. This bias interacted with vocabulary knowledge. 'Divergent' PP/ND word scores (High PP/Low ND; Low PP/High ND) were positively correlated with vocabulary so the 'divergence disadvantage' reduced as vocabulary knowledge grew; an interaction hypothesized to represent developmental changes in lexical-phonological processing linked to the emergence of phonological representations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1248
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

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