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Language development, metalinguistic skills, and print awareness in 3-year-old children

  • Carolyn Chaney (a1)

This is an investigation of the relationships among selected aspects of normal language development, emerging metalinguistic skills, and concepts about print in 3-year-old children. Forty–three normally developing children were given four tests of language development; twelve metalinguistic tasks measuring phonological awareness, word awareness, and structural awareness; and two measures of literacy knowledge. The results clearly demonstrated that most 3-year-olds can make metalinguistic judgments and productions in structured tasks, with overall metalinguistic performance improving with age in months. Specific metalinguistic tasks varied in difficulty and probably in developmental order. The major domains of metalinguistic awareness (phonological, word, and structural) were significantly intercorrelated and also correlated with overall linguistic skill. Literacy knowledge was positively correlated with overall metalinguistic skill and, specifically, with phonological awareness. It is concluded that, as young as age 3, children are already rapidly developing a mental framework for analyzing language structure separately from language meaning

Corresponding author
Department of Speech and Communication Studies, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
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Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
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