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Jones et al (2023) First Language.pdf (3.88 MB)

How the characteristics of words in child-directed speech differ from adult-directed speech to influence children's productive vocabularies

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posted on 2023-04-21, 15:57 authored by Gary Jones, Francesco Cabiddu, Doug JK Barrett, Antonio Castro, Bethany Lee
Child-directed speech has long been known to influence children’s vocabulary learning. However, while we know that caregiver utterances differ from those directed at adults in various ways, little is known about any differences in the lexical properties of child-directed and adult-directed utterances. We compare over half a million word tokens from adult speech directed at children (from caregiver–child transcriptions) to the same quantity directed at adults. We show that child-directed speech contains greater numbers of words that are lower in phonemic length, higher in frequency, lower in phonotactic probability, and higher in neighborhood density than adult-directed speech; furthermore, child-directed speech explains over twice the variability of children’s productive noun vocabularies than adult-directed speech. These findings indicate that children’s word production is clearly influenced by the characteristics of the words spoken directly to them and that researchers need to be wary of using adult-directed language corpora when calculating lexical measures.

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Citation

How the characteristics of words in child-directed speech differ from adult-directed speech to influence children’s productive vocabularies Gary Jones, Francesco Cabiddu, Doug J. K. Barrett, Antonio Castro, and Bethany Lee First Language 0 10.1177/01427237221150070

Author affiliation

School Psychology & Vision Sciences

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

FIRST LANGUAGE

Pagination

1-30

Publisher

SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD

issn

0142-7237

eissn

1740-2344

Copyright date

2023

Available date

2023-04-21

Language

English

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