Diversity not quantity in caregiver speech: using computational modeling to isolate the effects of the quantity and the diversity of the input on vocabulary growth

Jones, G. ORCID: 0000-0003-3867-9947 and Rowland, C.F., 2017. Diversity not quantity in caregiver speech: using computational modeling to isolate the effects of the quantity and the diversity of the input on vocabulary growth. Cognitive Psychology, 98, pp. 1-21. ISSN 0010-0285

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Abstract

Children who hear large amounts of diverse speech learn language more quickly than children who do not. However, high correlations between the amount and the diversity of the input in speech samples makes it difficult to isolate the influence of each. We overcame this problem by controlling the input to a computational model so that amount of exposure to linguistic input (quantity) and the quality of that input (lexical diversity) were independently manipulated. Sublexical, lexical, and multi-word knowledge were charted across development (Study 1), showing that while input quantity may be important early in learning, lexical diversity is ultimately more crucial, a prediction confirmed against children’s data (Study 2). The model trained on a lexically diverse input also performed better on nonword repetition and sentence recall tests (Study 3) and was quicker to learn new words over time (Study 4). A language input that is rich in lexical diversity outperforms equivalent richness in quantity for learned sublexical and lexical knowledge, for well-established language tests, and for acquiring words that have never been encountered before.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Cognitive Psychology
Creators: Jones, G. and Rowland, C.F.
Publisher: Academic Press
Date: November 2017
Volume: 98
ISSN: 0010-0285
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.07.002DOI
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 16 Aug 2017 07:54
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2017 15:34
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31419

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