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Cogn Psychol. 2010 Dec;61(4):343-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cogpsych.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Sources of variability in children's language growth.

Author information

1
University of Chicago, Department of Psychology, 5848 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. hutt@uchicago.edu

Abstract

The present longitudinal study examines the role of caregiver speech in language development, especially syntactic development, using 47 parent-child pairs of diverse SES background from 14 to 46 months. We assess the diversity (variety) of words and syntactic structures produced by caregivers and children. We use lagged correlations to examine language growth and its relation to caregiver speech. Results show substantial individual differences among children, and indicate that diversity of earlier caregiver speech significantly predicts corresponding diversity in later child speech. For vocabulary, earlier child speech also predicts later caregiver speech, suggesting mutual influence. However, for syntax, earlier child speech does not significantly predict later caregiver speech, suggesting a causal flow from caregiver to child. Finally, demographic factors, notably SES, are related to language growth, and are, at least partially, mediated by differences in caregiver speech, showing the pervasive influence of caregiver speech on language growth.

PMID:
20832781
PMCID:
PMC2981670
DOI:
10.1016/j.cogpsych.2010.08.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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