Verb Variability and Morphosyntactic Priming With Typically Developing 2- and 3-Year-Olds Purpose This study was specifically designed to examine how verb variability and verb overlap in a morphosyntactic priming task affect typically developing children's use and generalization of auxiliary IS. Method Forty typically developing 2- to 3-year-old native English-speaking children with inconsistent auxiliary IS production were primed with 24 ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   October 31, 2018
Verb Variability and Morphosyntactic Priming With Typically Developing 2- and 3-Year-Olds
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Windi C. Krok
    Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Department of Audiology and Speech Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Windi C. Krok: wkrok@email.gwu.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Lizbeth Finestack
    Editor: Lizbeth Finestack×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   October 31, 2018
Verb Variability and Morphosyntactic Priming With Typically Developing 2- and 3-Year-Olds
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0410
History: Received November 3, 2017 , Revised March 19, 2018 , Accepted June 26, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0410
History: Received November 3, 2017; Revised March 19, 2018; Accepted June 26, 2018

Purpose This study was specifically designed to examine how verb variability and verb overlap in a morphosyntactic priming task affect typically developing children's use and generalization of auxiliary IS.

Method Forty typically developing 2- to 3-year-old native English-speaking children with inconsistent auxiliary IS production were primed with 24 present progressive auxiliary IS sentences. Half of the children heard auxiliary IS primes with 24 unique verbs (high variability). The other half heard auxiliary IS primes with only 6 verbs, repeated 4 times each (low variability). In addition, half of the children heard prime–target pairs with overlapping verbs (lexical boost), whereas the other half heard prime–target pairs with nonoverlapping verbs (no lexical boost). To assess use and generalization of the targeted structure to untrained verbs, all children described probe items at baseline and 5 min and 24 hr after the priming task.

Results Children in the high variability group demonstrated strong priming effects during the task and increased auxiliary IS production compared with baseline performance 5 min and 24 hr after the priming task, suggesting learning and generalization of the primed structure. Children in the low variability group showed no significant increases in auxiliary IS production and fell significantly below the high variability group in the 24-hr posttest. Verb overlap did not boost priming effects during the priming task or in posttest probes.

Conclusions Typically developing children do indeed make use of lexical variability in their linguistic input to help them extract and generalize abstract grammatical rules. They can do this quite quickly, with relatively stable, robust learning occurring after a single optimally variable input session. With reduced variability, learning does not occur.

Acknowledgments
Preparation of this review was supported in part by the Purdue Research Foundation and Grant R01 DC009574 (awarded to Marc E. Fey, Co-Principal Investigator, University of Kansas Medical Center and Laurence B. Leonard, Co-Principal Investigator, Purdue University) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We would also like to thank Patricia Deevy for her recruitment assistance and input, Olivia Roudebush for her assistance with reliability calculations, and the children, parents, and preschools who participated in this research study.
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