From the Journals: Rare Words Easier to Learn Than Common Ones Preschoolers with typical development and those with specific language impairment show an advantage when learning rare words as opposed to common ones—an advantage that isn't restricted to the first few exposures to words, but continues over time, according to a study in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of ... From the Journals
From the Journals  |   February 01, 2013
From the Journals: Rare Words Easier to Learn Than Common Ones
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Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / From the Journals
From the Journals   |   February 01, 2013
From the Journals: Rare Words Easier to Learn Than Common Ones
The ASHA Leader, February 2013, Vol. 18, 33-34. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ3.18022013.33
The ASHA Leader, February 2013, Vol. 18, 33-34. doi:10.1044/leader.FTJ3.18022013.33
Preschoolers with typical development and those with specific language impairment show an advantage when learning rare words as opposed to common ones—an advantage that isn't restricted to the first few exposures to words, but continues over time, according to a study in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.
In the study, the authors tried to replicate previous findings that preschoolers have a greater advantage when learning rare (low phonotactic probability) words than when learning common (high phonotactic probability) ones, whether this advantage would be apparent at different "stages" of word learning, and whether findings would differ for preschoolers with specific language impairment and typical development.
Participants included 114 children: 40 with specific language impairment, 39 with typical development matched for age and gender and 35 with typical development matched for expressive vocabulary and gender. Researchers assessed comprehension and production during word learning and at post-test for words that varied in phonotactic probability and object familiarity.
Across groups, comprehension performance increased significantly from days one to two and from days two to three, but there was no significant effect of word or object type. Production performance increased significantly from days one to two, from days two to three, and from days three to four for all groups, and there was a clear advantage when learning rare words and unfamiliar objects, but not at post-test. The study illustrates how the interaction of phonological characteristics in nascent and extant words can affect word learning.
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February 2013
Volume 18, Issue 2