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Do children pick and choose? an examination of phonological selection and avoidance in early lexical acquisition*

  • Richard G. Schwartz (a1) and Laurence B. Leonard (a1)

The influence of phonological selection and avoidance upon early lexical acquisition was examined within an experimental paradigm. During 10 bi-weekly experimental sessions, 12 children (1;0.21 to 1;3.15 at the outset) were presented with 16 contrived lexical concepts, each consisting of a nonsense word and four unfamiliar referents. For each child, eight words involved phonological characteristics which had been evidenced in production (in) and eight had characteristics which had not been evidenced in production or selection (out), in words were produced imitatively and non-imitatively in greater numbers and in earlier sessions than OUT words, providing evidence for the influence of selection and avoidance. The degree of phonetic accuracy of these two types of productions did not differ. These findings are discussed in terms of a proposal concerning early phonological representation and acquisition.

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Portions of this paper were presented at the Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, 1979. Address for correspondence: Richard G. Schwartz, Audiology and Speech Science, Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.

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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
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