In Journal Of Child Language English Language Essay

Childs are exposed to 1000s of words at a immature age and yet they all seem to get similar early vocabularies. It is this wonder that inspires much of the paper ‘Does frequence count? ‘ by Goodman, Dale and Li. It is posited by the writers that the achievements of kids ‘s production of linguistic communication is well-established, holding spawned countless surveies. A less good researched facet of survey in lexical acquisition is that of comprehension, but theoreticians in this field have arrived at a consensus that a kid can grok more than they can bring forth. While old research workers were content with uncovering facts, Goodman, Dale and Li are more interested in happening an account.

The writers explore some of the other research conducted in relation to frequence and lexical acquisition. The bulk of theoreticians have assumed a positive function for frequence, if non a direct 1. There are statements for other factors being every bit as influential for word-learning ( Shatz & A ; Naigles, 1997 ) , the grade to which external variables can lend ( Tomasello, 2003 ) and the importance of the medium of exposure ( Patterson, 2002 ) . These surveies have been conducted on the general premise that the more a word features in grownup address, the quicker the kid will be in geting it.

The writers, nevertheless, argue that the methods used in old surveies to make these decisions are non competent plenty to supply accurate consequences. For illustration, some theoreticians have deduced that a parent who has interacted more with a kid that produces a larger vocabulary proves a positive function for frequence. Goodman, Dale and Li note defects in this method, viz. that the survey focused on vocabulary sizes as a whole instead than single words in relation to their parents use. Other surveies have shown that often spoken words help kids separate them from environing words, therefore hastening their acquisition. These surveies have been limited by their restricted usage of novel words which, although relevant, are non sufficient in supplying decisions for the impact of frequence across grammatical classs. Further research has revealed that the prevalence of words in health professional end product from certain syntactic classs dictates the corresponding use by the kid. However, the flawed informations used to back up these findings has come from written linguistic communication directed at grownups or older kids, ensuing in informations that is disparate to that of Child Directed Speech ( henceforth ; CDS ) and hence unlike the address kids are exposed to.

These hindrances acknowledge the absence of conclusive proof of the hypothesis that greater exposure to a lexical point will ensue in hastened acquisition. Previous surveies have partly substantiated this, but its range has yet to be established. It is clear that the hypothesis is non categorical as old research has shown closed category words to be common in big address but absent until late in a kid ‘s lexical acquisition.

The writers recognise the importance of other factors in finding lexical acquisition, but stress the importance of measuring frequence foremost and first. The writers outline their paramount end of the paper as analyzing the relationship between lexical frequence and age of acquisition ( for both production and comprehension vocabularies ) and will carry through this with a comparing of the two across lexical classs. The paper hypothesises a negative correlativity.

Estimates of age of acquisition were taken from the MacArthur-Bates CDI and the CHILDES database was used to find input frequence. The writers explained a figure of distinguishable advantages of utilizing informations sets from two different databases. Data from merely one informations set may ensue in a limited figure of words or at the really least a figure of mother-child word pairs. The information in this survey is sourced from transcripts of grownup CDS, rendering the consequences produced more believable than old surveies. The current scheme administers a comparatively conservative trial of input frequence, intending that any strong correlativities that occur can be comfortably generalised. The scheme employed removes the possibility of anomalous consequences through familial heritage, such as a referential attack to linguistic communication acquisition.

The writers used the two databases to carry through separate Acts of the Apostless. The CDI was used to determine the age of acquisition of lexical points, accomplished by parents observing when a kid articulated a word or both comprehended and articulated a word. The lexical informations from two stock lists was used ; one for kids aged 0 ; 8 to 1 ; 4 and the other for those elderly 1 ; 4 to 2 ; 6. These stock lists contained 396 and 680 words severally. The age of acquisition for production was determined as being the first month in which at least 50 % of the kids were noted as jointing a word. For comprehension, the same construct is employed for the kid ‘s apprehension.

Frequency of parental input was established by seeking the 3.8 million word CHILDES database principal for health professional ‘s parts correlating with the points from the CDI stock lists used antecedently. A figure of words from this principal were deemed ineligible by the writers. These included words that fewer than 50 % of kids had acquired by 2 ; 6, animate being noises and homophones. These standards produced 562 words and each were categorised as common nouns, people words, verbs, adjectives, closed instance or others.

The consequences yielded some surprises. The first completed trial found a negative correlativity between parental input and age of acquisition for single words in production. This may belie the predications of some but the writers note that closed category words feature conspicuously in grownup ‘s address, where as they are really rarely found in a kid ‘s end product until late in development. Paradoxically, the single nouns that dominate much of a kid ‘s early address were revealed to be the least common word classs in parental end product.

The writers so did the same trial for lexical classs as opposed to single words and obtained a predicted positive correlativity for the production informations. The importance of this determination is emphasized by the strength of the correlativity being immensely in surplus of the correlativity found in written-language based surveies. This denotes that, despite the deficiency of parent/child couples, the consequences were sufficiently consistent to comfortably generalise ; merely reinforced by the disparity with adult-directed written discourse. The paper acknowledges a possible unfavorable judgment of these findings, viz. the exclusion of words non acquired by 2 ; 6. The writers deal with this information individually and conclude that it supports their determination that the acquisition of closed category words is non influenced by high frequence parental end product.

The correlativities for the comprehension informations were non as strong in comparing to production. The writers attribute this to the decreased figure of entries in the comprehension informations as it focuses entirely on an early phase of development, restricting its range.

The paper questioned whether the consequence of frequence altered over clip. In order to gauge this, the words from the production informations were divided in to two sets ; those found in the first 100 words of a typical kid ‘s address and those found after. The relationship between age of acquisition and parental input was tested for on both sets of informations individually, with differences most noticeable for nouns and closed category words. The consequence frequence has on nouns appears to significantly increase after the first 100 words, during the ‘naming detonation ‘ . The opposite is true of closed category words, where frequence assumes greater importance during earlier development. However, the writers acknowledge the consequences as blemished due to the limited size of a kid ‘s vocabulary at this early phase in development and the high frequence of peculiar lexical points.

The paper selects three key facets to discourse. First, the map of semantic-syntactic categories do non agree with the writers hypothesis associating to frequence and age of acquisition. For illustration, nouns are the preferable lexical class for kids despite being used the least by grownups. There is besides a poorness of closed category words in the kids ‘s address, despite being the most common class found in parental address. The writers encourage farther research in an attempt to place the factors behind the acquisition of nouns.

Second, the correlativities between age of acquisition and parental frequence based on the CHILDES transcripts were significantly stronger than those based on written stuffs. The writers suggest that old surveies based on written stuffs may hold produced inaccurate consequences due to the deficiency of age appropriate norms.

The concluding point of involvement discussed the stronger relation between parental frequence and age of acquisition for production vocabularies as opposed to comprehension. The writers account for this by observing the kid ‘s degree of exposure to a word. They ground that since comprehension is an earlier developmental phase, the kid would be sufficiently accustomed to the word by the clip production is attempted.

The writers attempt to turn up implicit in mechanisms which may assist explicate the natural given that frequence facilitates lexical acquisition. A possible account is that a parent will do frequent usage of a peculiar term if they believe the kid understands. In add-on to this, the kid ‘s first vocalization of a peculiar word may promote the parent to utilize said term often.

The writers conclude that frequence does number, but acknowledge that there are variables that need research in order to supply a more complete vision of lexical acquisition.


The writers of this paper have identified a conspicuous spread in the research conducted on lexical acquisition. The combination of an advanced methodological attack ( the usage of separate databases ) and alone research aims manufactures an intriguing survey. The presentation is orderly and the construction orderly, with a voluminous sum of commentary on old research bordering the surveies ‘ business of a spread in the literature.

Throughout the paper, there is an averment that old research has assumed a positive function for frequence. Indeed, the illustrations cited appear to confirm this. However, in Brown ‘s ( 1973 ) celebrated Adam, Eve and Sarah survey on morphology, it was claimed that the acquisition of grammatical morphemes was non determined by frequence. Of class, there is no nexus between lexical acquisition and morphological acquisition, so although research on frequence in general had been conducted in the yesteryear, the writers were warranted in stipulating the demand for a more scrupulous expression at the lexical facet.

The writers make mention to many surveies conducted in linguistic communications other than English, but fail to advert possibly the most relevant ; Kauschke and Klann-Delius ( 2007 ) . This survey concerned the relationship between maternal input and vocabulary development in German ; really similar to that of Goodman et al. There is a possibility that the writers were non cognizant of this piece, as it was published merely a short clip before their ain work. The statistical computations in the Kauschke and Klann-Delius paper brand usage of the same method employed by Goodman et Al. However the database they have sourced their lexical points from is significantly smaller, decreasing the ability to generalise the consequences. There is a cardinal difference between the surveies ; Goodman et Al are more interested in the kid ‘s address in relation to the input, where as the German paper is more interested in how the female parent ‘s address adapts to a developing kid. Therefore, the surveies do n’t infringe on one another ‘s stuff, as they are analyzing findings from opposing terminals. However, they do complement each other good and can mix to supply a more limpid, complete analysis of the field.

Sing the perceived open nature of the poorness of research in the country of frequence and lexical acquisition, the writers may hold considered offering an account for this phenomenon. This is done by Demuth ( 2007 ) , who alludes to the influence of outstanding linguists such as Chomsky ( 1965 ) who advised that such affairs should be left to sociology. Demuth claims that it is merely in the last 20 old ages that boundaries between Fieldss have been relaxed, leting linguists and sociologists to collaborate and portion methodological attacks. In add-on to this, the augmentation of computing machines and the cyberspace have made the storing and sharing of informations a great trade easier and more accessible.

An issue which merits farther treatment is the choice of two disparate databases as a information beginning. For the intents of this reappraisal, the usage of one shall be evaluated ; the Communicative Development Inventories ( henceforth CDI ) . The concluding behind the choice of this database is telling ; the riddance of possible mother-child couples. However, one must see the building of the CDI in order to measure its dependability. The informations used was gathered in the signifier of parental studies on which words their kid understood and/or produced ( Berko Gleason, 2005, p. 46 ) . Theorists in this field by and large seem to back this method as dependable ( Dale 1996 ; Fenson et Al. 1994 ) and there is some empirical grounds to recommend this ( Meadows et al. 1999 ) , nevertheless there is besides research that suggests inaccuracy in parental coverage of their kid ‘s address ( Roberts et al. 1998 ) . Whilst this method is non ideal and can take to possible incompatibilities, it presents distinguishable advantages over other methods of informations aggregation such as the unauthentic environment of research lab based work. The possibility of falsifying the informations through the ‘Observer ‘s Paradox ‘ ( Labov, 1972 ) is besides diminished.

The CHILDES database, although universally regarded as revolutionist in the survey of first linguistic communication acquisition, has non been without its disparagers. Edwards ( 1992 ) criticized the system for being devoid of a standard written text method, rendering the information incomparable. Macwhinney and Snow ( 1992 ) rebutted this suggestion as out-of-date sing their recent alterations of the system. However, with parts from 100s of research workers numbering 1000s of hours of conversation, it can non be asserted that every transcript conforms exactly to one another.

A major plus of this survey that adds acceptance to the truth of the consequences is its usage of existent CDS information, extracted from transcripts of caregiver-child interaction. As basic a demand as this may look, the bulk of surveies on lexical acquisition have used written stuff, symptomatic of the so bias toward the printed medium. In the 1960 ‘s, DeVito noticed the job with this, and in a survey of his concluded that written linguistic communication had “ more lexical diverseness, more hard words… more nouns and adjectives… fewer verbs, ” ( Chafe and Tannen, 1987, p.385 ) . The disparity between written and spoken linguistic communication would, hence, to a great extent act upon the consequences. The writers ‘ usage of spoken linguistic communication improves the truth and dependability of the consequences. The existent impact this has on the consequences is noticeable, with there being a well stronger correlativity between age of acquisition and parental frequence. This paper has demonstrated that the usage of written stuffs replacing for spoken information is non dependable and should non be adopted in future surveies.

An unfortunate judicial admission of the methodological analysis excluded lexical points “ with two common utilizations ” . Harmonizing to Bridges ‘ ( 2006 ) study, there are 1075 homophones in English which, placed out of context, can go equivocal. A figure of these words are ordinary, mundane words that a kid may good utilize, such as:




The logical thinking behind the exclusion of these words is apprehensible ; the sheer mass of the informations involved makes it highly clip devouring to analyze every written text and find the significance of every equivocal word. However, the grade to which the findings are tainted is unsure, since the composing of English homophones do non follow a regular form i.e. some are nouns, some verbs, others adjectives, etc.

As portion of their treatment, the writers highlight that the correlativity of input frequence and age of acquisition contradicts their hypothesis. They surmise that other factors aside from frequence must be involved in order to explicate the easiness of noun acquisition, peculiarly since the consequences show nouns to be the least used syntactic class in parent ‘s CDS. They present no statement for what these factors could be and propose farther survey should be conducted. However, these consequences could be used be used as grounds of Chomsky ‘s innatist position on linguistic communication acquisition. The deficiency of nouns in grownups address and the copiousness in kids ‘s early address could propose that a kid is pre-programmed to get nouns before other syntactic classs. However, others such as * would propose that the lingual complexness of concrete nouns compared to other syntactic classs is the most pertinent factor in lexical acquisition. Of class, the writers did non get down this survey with the aim of happening a solution to the argument over linguistic communication innateness, but the writers are interested in why peculiar syntactic classs are acquired before others and this surely ties in with theories of the beginning of linguistic communication. *expand? *

There is a reasonable distinction between comprehension and production vocabularies ; an of import facet neglected by old research. The importance of this split is emphasized by the determination that parental input is a more consistent forecaster of production than comprehension, turn outing the being of a differentiation between the acquisition of production and comprehension vocabularies. This is an of import part to the field as future research workers will hold empirical grounds warranting their intervention of both comprehension and production vocabularies as separate entities.

This unique and prosecuting paper replies and raises some interesting inquiries. The paper is non perfect, with a figure of facets possibly decreasing the truth of the consequences such as the exclusion of certain words and comprehensiveness in footings of age of the kids sampled. However, the size of the principal involved and usage of two databases extinguishing the possibility of mother-child couples makes the consequences of this paper the most conformable to generalisation. The visual aspect of this and other documents on the subject indicates a bright and fertile hereafter for the survey of frequence effects and lexical acquisition in general.

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