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 SRCLD Presentation Details 

    Adults Create an Alternative Semantic Environment for Children and It Effects How Children Learn  
Christopher Cox - Louisiana State University
Eileen Haebig - Louisiana State University

SRCLD Year: 2020
Presentation Type: Special Session
Presentation Time: Thu, May 28, 2020 at 04:30 PM
Abstract View Full Summary
Network analysis of cued word associations reveals structure that is predictive of early lexical acquisition. The likelihood of learning a new word is influenced by its connectivity within the linguistic environment, such that words that receive many connections tend to be learned at younger ages, a process of network growth called “preferential acquisition”. Prior models of lexical acquisition have relied on databases of cued word associations provided by adults providing unconstrained responses. While these reflect aspects of the semantic structure manifest in adult linguistic environments, adults speak differently to children which may create a linguistic environment with different semantic structure. We present results from a new word association study in which adults were instructed to produce either unconstrained or child-directed responses to cue words. Child-directed responses consisted of higher frequency words with higher contextual diversity and earlier ages of acquisition. A comparison of growth models guided by semantic network structure revealed that child-directed associations are more predictive of lexical growth. These new child-directed word association norms may provide more insight into early lexical development.

Funding: Louisiana State University start-up funds
Author Biosketch(es)



Supported in part by: NIDCD and NICHD, NIH, R13 DC001677, Susan Ellis Weismer, Principal Investigator
University of Wisconsin-Madison - Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders