Word Frequencies in Toddlers’ Lexicons Word frequencies in toddlers’ lexicons were examined in two studies using the Language Development Survey (LDS), a vocabulary checklist completed by parents (Rescorla, 1989). In Study 1, a high degree of consistency in LDS word frequencies was found when six samples of 24-month-olds were compared (total N=758). Word frequency correlations ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2001
Word Frequencies in Toddlers’ Lexicons
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Leslie Rescorla, PhD
    Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
    Department of Psychology, Bryn Mawr College, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
  • Amie Alley
    Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Joanne Book Christine
    Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: lrescorl@brynmawr.edu
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2001
Word Frequencies in Toddlers’ Lexicons
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2001, Vol. 44, 598-609. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/049)
History: Received September 11, 2000 , Accepted January 9, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2001, Vol. 44, 598-609. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/049)
History: Received September 11, 2000; Accepted January 9, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 26

Word frequencies in toddlers’ lexicons were examined in two studies using the Language Development Survey (LDS), a vocabulary checklist completed by parents (Rescorla, 1989). In Study 1, a high degree of consistency in LDS word frequencies was found when six samples of 24-month-olds were compared (total N=758). Word frequency correlations in the .90s were found between large, unselected samples of toddlers of roughly similar socioeconomic status (SES). Correlations were somewhat lower but still highly significant when groups varying widely in SES were compared. In Study 2, LDS word frequencies in a sample of 40 late talkers traced from age 2 to 3 were compared to those in a large community sample from Study 1. Both lexicon size and age of the late talker influenced the degree of consistency found with respect to the community sample. The most common words reported in the lexicons of a sample of 422 24-montholds were consistent with those identified in diary studies as among the highest frequency words used by young children in their early vocabularies.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants to the first author from the Bryn Mawr College Faculty Research Fund and from the National Institutes of Health (NICHD Area Grant 1-R15-HD22355; and NIDCD R01-DC00807). A portion of this paper, the research conducted by Joanne Book Christine for her senior thesis at Bryn Mawr College, was presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, March 1997. The authors wish to thank the children and parents who gave so generously of their time to participate in this research.
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