Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Nonword repetition and word learning: The nature of the relationship

  • SUSAN E. GATHERCOLE (a1)
Abstract

This article presents a theoretical framework designed to accommodate core evidence that the abilities to repeat nonwords and to learn the phonological forms of new words are closely linked. Basic findings relating nonword repetition and word learning both in typical samples of children and adults and in individuals with disorders of language learning are described. The theoretical analysis of this evidence is organized around the following claims: first, that nonword repetition and word learning both rely on phonological storage; second, that they are both multiply determined, constrained also by auditory, phonological, and speech–motor output processes; third, that a phonological storage deficit alone may not be sufficient to impair language learning to a substantial degree. It is concluded that word learning mediated by temporary phonological storage is a primitive learning mechanism that is particularly important in the early stages of acquiring a language, but remains available to support word learning across the life span.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Susan E. Gathercole, Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK. E-mail: s.gathercole@psychology.york.ac.uk
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

AllowayT. P., GathercoleS. E., WillisC. S., & AdamsA.-M. 2004. A structural analysis of working memory and related cognitive skills in young children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 87, 85170.

AtkinsP. W. B., & BaddeleyA. D. 1998. Working memory and distributed vocabulary learning. Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, 537552.

AvonsS. E., WraggC. A., CupplesL., & LovegroveW. J. 1998. Measure of phonological short-term memory and their relationship to vocabulary development. Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, 583601.

BaddeleyA. D., GathercoleS. E., & PapagnoC. 1998. The phonological loop as a language learning device. Psychological Review, 105, 158173.

BaddeleyA. D., PapagnoC., & VallarG. 1988. When long-term learning depends on short-term storage. Journal of Memory and Language, 27, 576596.

BaddeleyA. D., ThomsonN., & BuchananM. 1975. Word length and the structure of short-term memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 575589.

BaddeleyA. D., & WilsonB. A. 1993. A developmental deficit in short-term memory: Implications for language and reading. Memory, 1, 6578.

BishopD. V. M. 2001. Genetic influences on language impairment and literacy problems in children: Same or different? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42, 189198.

BishopD. V. M., AdamsC. V., & NorburyC. F. 2004. Using nonword repetition to distinguish genetic and environmental influences on early literacy development: A study of 6-year-old twins. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 129B, 9496.

BishopD. V. M., BishopS. J., BrightP., DelaneyT., & TallalP. 1999. Different origin of auditory and phonological processing problems in children with language impairment: Evidence from a twin study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 155168.

BishopD. V. M., CarlyonR. P., DeeksJ. M., & BishopS. J. 1999. Auditory temporal processing impairment: Neither necessary nor sufficient for causing language impairment in children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 12951310.

BishopD. V. M., & McArthurG. M. 2004. Immature cortical responses to auditory stimuli in specific language impairment: Evidence from ERPs to rapid tone sequences. Developmental Science, 7, F11F18.

BishopD. V. M., & McArthurG. M. 2005. Individual differences in auditory processing in specific language impairment: A follow-up study using event-related potentials and behavioural thresholds. Cortex, 41, 327341.

BishopD. V. M., NorthT., & DonlanC. 1996. Nonword repetition as a behavioural marker for inherited language impairment: Evidence from a twin study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 37, 391403.

BottingN., & Conti-RamsdenG. 2001. Non-word repetition and language development in children with specific language impairment (SLI). International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 36, 421432.

BoweyJ. A. 1996. On the association between phonological memory and receptive vocabulary in five-year-olds. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 63, 4478.

BoweyJ. A. 1997. What does nonword repetition measure? A reply to Gathercole and Baddeley. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 67, 295301.

BoweyJ. A. 2001. Nonword repetition and young children's receptive vocabulary: A longitudinal study. Applied Psycholinguistics, 22, 441469.

BradyS., ShankweilerD., & MannV. 1983. Speech perception and memory coding in relation to reading ability. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 35, 345367.

BriscoeJ., BishopD. V. M., & NorburyC. F. 2001. Phonological processing, language, and literacy: A comparison of children with mild-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss and those with specific language impairment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42, 329340.

ButterworthB., CampbellR., & HowardD. 1986. The uses of short-term memory: A case study. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 38, 705737.

CampbellT., DollaghanC., NeedlemanH., & JanoskyJ. 1997. Reducing bias in language assessment: Processing-dependent measures. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 40, 519525.

CheungH. 1996. Nonword span as a unique predictor of second-language vocabulary learning. Developmental Psychology, 32, 867873.

ChiatS. 2003. Mapping theories of developmental language impairment: Premises, predictions, and evidence. Language and Cognitive Processes, 16, 113142.

ChincottaD., & HoosainR. 1995. Reading rate, articulatory suppression and bilingual digit span. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 7, 201211.

Conti-RamsdenG., & BottingN. 2001. Psycholinguistic markers for specific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42, 741748.

Conti-RamsdenG., & HeskethA. 2003. Risk markers for SLI: A study of young language-learning children. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 38, 251263.

CowanN. 2001. The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 87.

CowanN., DayL., SaultsJ. S., KellerT. A., JohnsonT., & FloresL. 1992. The role of verbal output time in the effects of word length on immediate memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 117.

Da Costa PintoA. 1991. Reading rates and digit span in bilinguals: The superiority of mother tongue. International Journal of Psychology, 26, 471483.

DanemanM., & CarpenterP. A. 1980. Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 19, 450466

de JongP. F., SevekeM. J., & van VeenM. 2000. Phonological sensitivity and the acquisition of new words in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 76, 275301.

DillonC. M., ClearyM., PisoniD. B., & CarterA. K. 2004. Imitation of nonwords by hearing-impaired children with cochlear implants: Segmental analyses. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 18, 3955.

DollaghanC., & CampbellT. F. 1998. Nonword repetition and child language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41, 11361146.

DollaghanC. A. 1987. Fast mapping in normal and language-impaired children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 52, 218222.

DollaghanC. A., BiberM., & CampbellT. 1993. Constituent syllable effects in a nonsense-word repetition task. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 10511054.

EdwardsJ., & LaheyM. 1998. Nonword repetitions of children with specific language impairment: Exploration of some explanations for their inaccuracies. Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, 279309.

Ellis WeismerS., EvansJ., & HeskethL. 1999. An examination of working memory capacity in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 12491260.

Ellis WeismerS., & HeskethL. 1996. Lexical learning by children with specific language impairment: Effects of linguistic input presented at varying speaking rates. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 39, 177190.

Ellis WeismerS., TomblinJ. B., ZhangX., BuckwalterP., ChynowethJ. G., & JonesM. 2000. Nonword repetition performance in school-age children with and without language impairment, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 43, 865878.

GathercoleS. E. 1995. Is nonword repetition a test of phonological memory or long-term knowledge? It all depends on the nonwords. Memory and Cognition, 23, 8394.

GathercoleS. E., & BaddeleyA. D. 1989. Evaluation of the role of phonological STM in the development of vocabulary in children: A longitudinal study. Journal of Memory and Language, 28, 200213.

GathercoleS. E., & BaddeleyA. D. 1990a. The role of phonological memory in vocabulary acquisition: A study of young children learning new names. British Journal of Psychology, 81, 439454.

GathercoleS., & BaddeleyA. 1990b. Phonological memory deficits in language disordered children: Is there a causal connection? Journal of Memory and Language, 29, 336360.

GathercoleS. E., & BaddeleyA. D. 1997. Sense and sensitivity in phonological memory and vocabulary development: A reply to Bowey. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 67, 290294.

GathercoleS. E., HitchG. J., ServiceE., & MartinA. J. 1997. Short-term memory and new word learning in children. Developmental Psychology, 33, 966979.

GathercoleS. E., TiffanyC., BriscoeJ., ThornA. S. C., & The ALSPAC Team. 2005a. Developmental consequences of phonological loop deficits during early childhood: A longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 46, 598611.

GathercoleS. E., WillisC., & BaddeleyA. D. 1991. Dissociable influences of phonological memory and phonological awareness on reading and vocabulary development. British Journal of Psychology, 82, 387406.

GathercoleS. E., WillisC., EmslieH., & BaddeleyA. D. 1991. The influences of number of syllables and wordlikeness on children's repetition of nonwords. Applied Psycholinguistics, 12, 349367.

GathercoleS. E., WillisC., EmslieH., & BaddeleyA. D. 1992. Phonological memory and vocabulary development during the early school years: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 28, 887898.

GathercoleS. E., WillisC., EmslieH., & BaddeleyA. D. 1994. The Children's Test of Nonword Repetition: A test of phonological working memory. Memory, 2, 103127.

GrayS. 2003. Diagnostic accuracy and test–retest reliability of nonword repetition and digit span tasks administered to preschool children with specific language impairment. Journal of Communication Disorders, 36, 129151.

GrayS. 2004. Word learning by preschoolers with Specific Language impairment: Predictors and poor learners. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 11171132.

Hayiou-ThomasM. E., BishopD. V. M., & PlunkettK. 2004. Simulating SLI: General cognitive processing stressors can produce a specific linguistic profile. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 13471362.

HulmeC., MaughanS., & BrownG. D. A. 1991. Memory for familiar and unfamiliar words: Evidence for a long-term memory contribution to short-term memory span. Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 685701.

JusczykP. W., LuceP. A., & Charles-LuceJ. 1994. Infants' sensitivity to phonotactic patterns in the native language. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 630645.

KamhiA., & CattsH. 1986. Toward an understanding of developmental language and reading disorders. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 51, 337347.

KovasY., Hayiou-ThomasM. E., OliverB., DaleP. S., BishopD. V. M., & PlominR. 2005. Genetic influences in different aspects of language development: The etiology of language skills in 4.5 year-old twins. Child Development, 76, 632651.

MajerusS., Van Der LindeM., MulderL., MeulemansT., & PetersF. 2004. Verbal short-term memory reflects the sublexical organization of the phonological language network: Evidence from an incidental phontactic learning paradigm. Journal of Memory and Language, 51, 297306.

MartonK., & SchwartzR. G. 2003. Working memory capacity and language processes in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 11381153.

MasouraE., & GathercoleS. E. 1999. Phonological short-term memory and foreign vocabulary learning. International Journal of Psychology, 34, 383388.

McArthurG. M., & BishopD. V. M. 2004. Which people with specific language impairment have auditory processing deficits? Cognitive Neuropsychology, 21, 7994.

MerzenichM. M., JenkinsW. M., JohnstonP., SchreinerC., MillerS. L., & TallalP. 1996. Temporal processing deficits of language-learning impaired children ameliorated by training. Science, 271, 7781.

MetsalaJ. L. 1999. The development of phonemic awareness in reading disabled children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 20, 149158.

MichasI. C., & HenryL. A. 1994. The link between phonological memory and vocabulary acquisition. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12, 147164.

MontgomeryJ. 1995a. Sentence comprehension in children with specific language impairment: The role of phonological working memory. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, 187199.

MontgomeryJ. 2000. Verbal working memory in sentence comprehension in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 43, 293308.

MunsonB. 2001. Phonological pattern frequency and speech production in adults and children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 778792.

MunsonB., EdwardsJ., & BeckmanM. E. 2005. Relationships between nonword repetition accuracy and other measures of linguistic development in children with phonological disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 6178.

PalladinoP., & CornoldiC. 2004. Working memory performance of Italian students with foreign language learning difficulties. Learning and Individual Differences, 14, 137151.

PapagnoC., ValentineT., & BaddeleyA. D. 1991. Phonological short-term memory and foreign-language vocabulary learning. Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 331347.

RoodenrysS., & StokesJ. 2001. Serial recall and nonword repetition in reading disabled children. Reading and Writing, 14, 379394.

RosenS. 2003. Auditory processing in dyslexia and specific language impairment: Is there a deficit? What is its nature? Does it explain anything? Journal of Phonetics, 31, 509527.

SalameP., & BaddeleyA. D. 1986. Phonological factors in STM: Similarity and the unattended speech effect. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 24, 263265.

SchweikertR. 1993. A multinomial processing tree model for degradation and redintegration in immediate recall. Memory and Cognition, 21, 168175.

ServiceE., & CraikF. I. M. 1993. Differences between young and older adults in learning a foreign vocabulary. Journal of Memory and Language, 32, 608623.

ServiceE., & KohonenV. 1995. Is the relation between phonological memory and foreign-language learning accounted for by vocabulary acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 16, 155172.

2002. SLI Consortium. A genome-wide scan identifies two novel loci involved in specific language impairment. American Journal of Human Genetics, 70, 384398.

SnowlingM. 1981. Phonemic deficits in developmental dyslexia. Psychological Research, 43, 219234.

SnowlingM., ChiatS., & HulmeC. 1991. Words, nonwords and phonological processes: Some comments on Gathercole, Willis, Emslie, & Baddeley. Applied Psycholinguistics, 12, 369373.

SnowlingM., GoulandrisN., BowlbyM., & HowellP. 1986. Segmentation and speech perception in relation to reading skill: A developmental analysis. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 41, 489507.

SnowlingM., & HulmeC. 1989. A longitudinal case study of developmental phonological dyslexia. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 6, 379401.

StorkelH. 2001. Learning new words: Phonotactic probability in language development. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 13211338.

SummerfieldQ., PalmerA. R., FosterJ. R., MarshallD. H., & TwomeyT. 1994. Clinical evaluation and test–retest reliability of the IHR–McCormick Automated Toy Discrimination Test. British Journal of Audiology, 28, 165179.

TallalP., MillerS. L., BediG., BymaG., WangX., NagarajanS.S., et al. 1996. Language comprehension in language-learning impaired children improved with acoustically modified speech. Science, 271, 8184.

TallalP., & PiercyM. 1973. Deficits of nonverbal auditory perception in children with developmental aphasia. Nature, 241, 468469.

TallalP., & PiercyM. 1975. Developmental aphasia: The perception of brief vowels and extended stop consonants. Neuropsychologia, 12, 8394.

TallalP., StarkR. E., & MellittsD. 1985. The relationship between auditory temporal analysis and receptive language development: Evidence from studies of developmental language disorder. Neuropsychologia, 23, 527534.

ThornA. S. C., & GathercoleS. E. 2001. Language differences in verbal short-term memory do not exclusively originate in the process of subvocal rehearsal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 8, 357365.

ThornA. S. C., GathercoleS. E., & FrankishC. R. 2005. Redintegration and the benefits of long-term knowledge in verbal short-term memory: An evaluation of Schweikert's (1993) multinomial processing tree model. Cognitive Psychology, 50, 133158.

VallarG., & BaddeleyA. D. 1984. Phonological short-term store, phonological processing and sentence comprehension: A neuropsychological case study. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 1, 121141.

van BonW. H. J., & van der PijlJ. M. L. 1997. Effects of word length and wordlikeness on pseudoword repetition by poor and normal readers. Applied Psycholinguistics, 18, 101114.

VitevitchM. S., & LuceP. A. 2005. Increases in phonotactic probability facilitate spoken nonword repetition. Journal of Memory and Language, 52, 193204.

WashingtonJ. A., & CraigH. K. 2004. A language screening protocol for use with young African American children in urban settings. American Journal of Speech–Language Pathology, 13, 329340.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 26
Total number of PDF views: 242 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1155 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 27th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.