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Academic Paper


Title: What counts as effective input for word learning?
Author: Laura A. Shneidman
Institution: University of Chicago
Author: Michelle E. Arroyo
Institution: University of Chicago
Author: Susan C. Levine
Institution: University of Chicago
Author: Susan Goldin-Meadow
Institution: University of Chicago
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: The talk children hear from their primary caregivers predicts the size of their vocabularies. But children who spend time with multiple individuals also hear talk that others direct to them, as well as talk not directed to them at all. We investigated the effect of linguistic input on vocabulary acquisition in children who routinely spent time with one vs. multiple individuals. For all children, the number of words primary caregivers directed to them at age 2 ; 6 predicted vocabulary size at age 3 ; 6. For children who spent time with multiple individuals, child-directed words from household members also predicted later vocabulary and accounted for more variance in vocabulary than words from primary caregivers alone. Interestingly, overheard words added no predictive value to the model. These findings suggest that speech directed to children is important for early word learning, even in households where a sizable proportion of input comes from overheard speech.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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