Nevin Manimala Statistics

The emergence of bifurcated structure in children’s language

J Exp Psychol Gen. 2022 Jun 13. doi: 10.1037/xge0001245. Online ahead of print.


Human language is unique among animal communication systems, in part because of its dual patterning in which meaningless phonological units combine to form meaningful words (phonological structure) and words combine to form sentences (lexicosyntactic structure). Although dual patterning is well recognized, its emergence in language development has been scarcely investigated. Chief among questions still unanswered is the extent to which development of these separate structures is independent or interdependent, and what supports acquisition of each level of structure. We explored these questions by examining growth of lexicosyntactic and phonological structure in children with normal hearing (n = 49) and children with hearing loss who use cochlear implants (n = 56). Multiple measures of each kind of structure were collected at 2-year intervals (kindergarten through eighth grade), and used to construct latent scores for each type of structure. Growth curve analysis assessed (a) the relative independence of development for each level of structure; (b) interactions between these two levels of structure in real-time language processing; and (c) contributions to growth of each level of structure made by auditory input, socioeconomic status (as proxy for linguistic experience), and speech motor control. Findings suggested that phonological and lexicosyntactic structure develop largely independently. Auditory input, socioeconomic status, and speech motor control help shape these language structures, with the last two factors exerting stronger effects for children with cochlear implants. Only for children with cochlear implants were interdependencies in real-time processing observed, reflecting compensatory mechanisms likely present to help them handle the disproportionately large phonological deficit they exhibit. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:35696175 | DOI:10.1037/xge0001245

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