Storkel, H. L. & Hoover, J. R. (in press b). The influence of part-word phonotactic probability/neighborhood density on word learning by preschool children varying in expressive vocabulary. Journal of Child Language

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine the influence of part-word phonotactic probability/neighborhood density on word learning by preschool children with normal vocabularies that varied in size. Ninety-eight children (age 2;11 – 6;0) were taught consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) nonwords orthogonally varying in the probability/density of the CV (i.e., body) and VC (i.e., rhyme). Learning was measured via picture naming. Children with the lowest expressive vocabulary scores showed no effect of either CV or VC probability/density, although floor effects could not be ruled out. In contrast, children with low or high expressive vocabulary scores demonstrated sensitivity to part-word probability/density with the nature of the effect varying by group. Children with the highest expressive vocabulary scores displayed yet a third pattern of part-word probability/density effects. Taken together, word learning by preschool children was influenced by part-word probability/density but the nature of this influence appeared to depend on the size of the lexicon.

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