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Self-reported parental vocabulary input frequency for young children

  • Dorthe BLESES (a1), Werner VACH (a2) and Philip S. DALE (a3)

Vocabulary input frequency influences age of acquisition, and is also an essential control for investigating the influence of other factors. We propose a new method of frequency estimation, self-report. 918 Danish-speaking parents of 12–36-month-old children estimated their frequency of use of 725 words. Self-report was substantially correlated with both language sample based frequencies (0.67) and frequencies of a large written corpus of Danish (0.58). Correlations within vocabulary categories between frequency and age of acquisition, restricted to words occurring in the language samples, were comparable for the two estimates. Overall, self-report based frequency estimates appear to have a promising degree of validity, which reflects their greatest strength, independence of the situation.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences, University of New Mexico, 1700 Lomas Blvd NE, Suite 1300, Albuquerque, NM 87131. E-mail:
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We are grateful to the parents who provided the information about their children for this study. We also thank Rune Jørgenson of Southern Denmark University, who set up the online system for data collection, Ivan Iachine for data preparation, and Laila Kjaerbaek for assistance with the language samples. Access to datafiles and the web-administered questionnaire is available via the Open Science Framework at <>.

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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
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