Triggering word learning in children with Language Impairment: The effect of phonotactic probability and neighbourhood density (2014)

Author(s): McKean C, Letts CA, Howard D

    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.

      • Legacy Date: 01/11/2014
      • Journal: Journal of Child Language
      • Volume: 41
      • Issue: 6
      • Pages: 1224-1228
      • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
      • Publication type: Article
      • Bibliographic status: Published

      Professor David Howard
      Research Development Professor

      Dr Carolyn Letts
      Senior Lecturer

      Dr Cristina McKean