Word learning by preschoolers with SLI: Effect of phonotactic probability and object familiarity

Shelley Gray, Shara Brinkley, Dubravka Svetina

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Purpose: In this study, the authors investigated whether previous findings of a low phonotactic probability/unfamiliar object wordlearning advantage in preschoolers could be replicated, whether this advantage would be apparent at different "stages" of word learning, and whether findings would differ for preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI) and typical development (TD). Method: Participants included 114 children: 40 with SLI, 39 with TD matched for age and gender, and 35 with TD matched for expressive vocabulary and gender. Comprehension and production were assessed during word learning and at post-test for words that varied in phonotactic probability and object familiarity. Results: Across groups, comprehension performance increased significantly from Day 1 to Day 2 and from Day 2 to Day 3, but there was no significant word/object type effect. Production performance increased significantly from Day 1 to Day 2, from Day 2 to Day 3, and from Day 3 to Day 4 for all groups, and there was a clear low phonotactic probability/unfamiliar object advantage during word learning but not at post-test. Conclusion: Results help to establish that preschoolers with TD and SLI show a low phonotactic probability/unfamiliar object production advantage during word learning that is not restricted to the first few exposures to words, but continues over time. This study illustrates how the interaction of phonological characteristics in nascent and extant words can affect word learning.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1289-1300
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Volume55
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

    Keywords

    • Object familiarity
    • Phonotactic probability
    • Preschoolers
    • Specific language impairment
    • Word learning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language
    • Speech and Hearing

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