What Influences Children's Conceptualizations of Language Input? PurposeChildren learning language conceptualize the nature of input they receive in ways that allow them to understand and construct utterances they have never heard before. This study was designed to illuminate the types of information children with and without specific language impairment (SLI) focus on to develop their conceptualizations and ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2013
What Influences Children's Conceptualizations of Language Input?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elena Plante
    The University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Rebecca Vance
    The University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Amanda Moody
    The University of Arizona, Tucson
  • LouAnn Gerken
    The University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Correspondence to Elena Plante: eplante@email.arizona.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Ron Gillam
    Associate Editor: Ron Gillam×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   October 01, 2013
What Influences Children's Conceptualizations of Language Input?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1613-1624. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0129)
History: Received April 18, 2012 , Revised September 4, 2012 , Accepted January 11, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1613-1624. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0129)
History: Received April 18, 2012; Revised September 4, 2012; Accepted January 11, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

PurposeChildren learning language conceptualize the nature of input they receive in ways that allow them to understand and construct utterances they have never heard before. This study was designed to illuminate the types of information children with and without specific language impairment (SLI) focus on to develop their conceptualizations and whether they can rapidly shift their initial conceptualizations if provided with additional input.

MethodIn 2 studies, preschool children with and without SLI were exposed to an artificial language, the characteristics of which allowed for various types of conceptualizations about its fundamental properties. After being familiarized with the language, children were asked to judge test strings that conformed to the input in 1 of 4 different ways.

ResultsAll children preferred test items that reflected a narrow conceptualization of the input (i.e., items most like those heard during familiarization). Children showed a strong preference for phonology as a defining property of the artificial language. Restructuring the input to the child could induce them to track word order information as well.

ConclusionChildren tend toward narrow conceptualizations of language input, but the nature of their conceptualizations can be influenced by the nature of the input they receive.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC004726. Portions of this work were presented at the 2008 Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Chicago, IL.
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