Effect of Phonotactic Probability and Neighborhood Density on Word-Learning Configuration by Preschoolers With Typical Development and Specific Language Impairment Purpose In this study, the authors assessed the effects of phonotactic probability and neighborhood density on word-learning configuration by preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI) and typical language development (TD). Method One hundred thirty-one children participated: 48 with SLI, 44 with TD matched on age and gender, and 39 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2014
Effect of Phonotactic Probability and Neighborhood Density on Word-Learning Configuration by Preschoolers With Typical Development and Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shelley Gray
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Andrea Pittman
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Juliet Weinhold
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Disclosure Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Shelley Gray: shelley.gray@asu.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Jeffry Coady
    Associate Editor: Jeffry Coady×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2014
Effect of Phonotactic Probability and Neighborhood Density on Word-Learning Configuration by Preschoolers With Typical Development and Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 1011-1025. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0282
History: Received September 4, 2012 , Revised March 18, 2013 , Accepted October 18, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 1011-1025. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0282
History: Received September 4, 2012; Revised March 18, 2013; Accepted October 18, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose In this study, the authors assessed the effects of phonotactic probability and neighborhood density on word-learning configuration by preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI) and typical language development (TD).

Method One hundred thirty-one children participated: 48 with SLI, 44 with TD matched on age and gender, and 39 with TD matched on vocabulary and gender. Referent identification and naming were assessed in a computer-based learning context.

Results For referent identification, preschoolers with TD benefited from high phonotactic probability, and the younger group also benefited from low neighborhood density. In contrast, the SLI group benefited only from high neighborhood density. For naming, older preschoolers with TD benefited most from low-density words, younger preschoolers with TD benefited most from words with high phonotactic probability, and the SLI group showed no advantage.

Conclusion Phonotactic probability and neighborhood density had different effects on each group that may be related to children's ability to store well-specified word forms and to the size of their extant lexicon. The authors argue that cross-study comparisons of word learning are needed; therefore, researchers should describe word, referent, and learner characteristics and the learning context and should situate their studies in a triggering → configuration + engagement model of word learning.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant 5R01DC7417-2 to the first author. We sincerely appreciate the participation of children, families, and staff of the Chandler Unified School District, Mesa Public Schools, Kyrene School District #28, Gilbert Public Schools, Tempe Union High School District, Tempe Elementary School District, Bright Horizons Family Solutions in Chandler and Tempe, Cactus Preschool in Tempe, the Campus Children's Center, Maricopa Community College Children's Center, Maxwell Preschool Academy in Chandler, Maxwell Preschool Academy–Dobson, Maxwell Preschool Academy–Stapley, Imagination Station, Kiddie Kare, American Child Care, Christ Church School, Kindercare of Gilbert, Shining Star Preschool, Childtime-Mesa, Childtime–Phoenix, Astara In-home Daycare, and Creighton United Methodist Preschool.
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