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      (Non-)effects of linguistic environment on early stable consonant production: A cross cultural case study

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      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Open Library of the Humanities

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          Abstract

          Recent evidence shows that children reach expected basic linguistic milestones in two rural Indigenous communities, Tseltal and Yélî, despite their infrequent exposure to child-directed speech from adults. However, those results were partly based on measures that are fairly robust to environmental variation, e.g. the onset of babbling. By contrast, directed speech input is typically linked to lexical development, which is environmentally sensitive. We investigate whether these children’s vocal motor schemes—a motor-phonological measure of stable consonant production related to early vocabulary—show a similar “expected” developmental pattern to what has been found for typically developing children in urban “child-centered” linguistic communities. We also compare development between the two languages, whose phonological inventories differ greatly in size and complexity. Using spontaneous speech from clips sampled across children’s waking days at home, we find that children’s canonical babble and stable consonant production is overall comparable to previous work with typically developing children. We find no evidence for difference between the two languages.

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              Talking to children matters: early language experience strengthens processing and builds vocabulary.

              Infants differ substantially in their rates of language growth, and slow growth predicts later academic difficulties. In this study, we explored how the amount of speech directed to infants in Spanish-speaking families low in socioeconomic status influenced the development of children's skill in real-time language processing and vocabulary learning. All-day recordings of parent-infant interactions at home revealed striking variability among families in how much speech caregivers addressed to their child. Infants who experienced more child-directed speech became more efficient in processing familiar words in real time and had larger expressive vocabularies by the age of 24 months, although speech simply overheard by the child was unrelated to vocabulary outcomes. Mediation analyses showed that the effect of child-directed speech on expressive vocabulary was explained by infants' language-processing efficiency, which suggests that richer language experience strengthens processing skills that facilitate language growth.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Open Library of the Humanities
                2397-1835
                January 14 2022
                September 29 2022
                : 7
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Radboud University
                [2 ]University of Chicago
                Article
                10.16995/glossa.5813
                108a8148-6754-49ad-98d1-d7a9a191a79d
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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