Language Matters: Denying the Existence of the 30-Million-Word Gap Has Serious Consequences

Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Erika Hoff, Meredith L. Rowe, Catherine Tamis-Lemonda, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sperry, Sperry, and Miller (2018) aim to debunk what is called the 30-million-word gap by claiming that children from lower income households hear more speech than Hart and Risley () reported. We address why the 30-million-word gap should not be abandoned, and the importance of retaining focus on the vital ingredient to language learning—quality speech directed to children rather than overheard speech, the focus of Sperry et al.'s argument. Three issues are addressed: Whether there is a language gap; the characteristics of speech that promote language development; and the importance of language in school achievement. There are serious risks to claims that low-income children, on average, hear sufficient, high-quality language relative to peers from higher income homes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild Development
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Language
language
low income
Language Development
income
school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Language Matters : Denying the Existence of the 30-Million-Word Gap Has Serious Consequences. / Golinkoff, Roberta Michnick; Hoff, Erika; Rowe, Meredith L.; Tamis-Lemonda, Catherine; Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy.

In: Child Development, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Golinkoff, Roberta Michnick ; Hoff, Erika ; Rowe, Meredith L. ; Tamis-Lemonda, Catherine ; Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy. / Language Matters : Denying the Existence of the 30-Million-Word Gap Has Serious Consequences. In: Child Development. 2018.
@article{a88e49807438464697619a5590c408d6,
title = "Language Matters: Denying the Existence of the 30-Million-Word Gap Has Serious Consequences",
abstract = "Sperry, Sperry, and Miller (2018) aim to debunk what is called the 30-million-word gap by claiming that children from lower income households hear more speech than Hart and Risley () reported. We address why the 30-million-word gap should not be abandoned, and the importance of retaining focus on the vital ingredient to language learning—quality speech directed to children rather than overheard speech, the focus of Sperry et al.'s argument. Three issues are addressed: Whether there is a language gap; the characteristics of speech that promote language development; and the importance of language in school achievement. There are serious risks to claims that low-income children, on average, hear sufficient, high-quality language relative to peers from higher income homes.",
author = "Golinkoff, {Roberta Michnick} and Erika Hoff and Rowe, {Meredith L.} and Catherine Tamis-Lemonda and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/cdev.13128",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Child Development",
issn = "0009-3920",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Language Matters

T2 - Denying the Existence of the 30-Million-Word Gap Has Serious Consequences

AU - Golinkoff, Roberta Michnick

AU - Hoff, Erika

AU - Rowe, Meredith L.

AU - Tamis-Lemonda, Catherine

AU - Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Sperry, Sperry, and Miller (2018) aim to debunk what is called the 30-million-word gap by claiming that children from lower income households hear more speech than Hart and Risley () reported. We address why the 30-million-word gap should not be abandoned, and the importance of retaining focus on the vital ingredient to language learning—quality speech directed to children rather than overheard speech, the focus of Sperry et al.'s argument. Three issues are addressed: Whether there is a language gap; the characteristics of speech that promote language development; and the importance of language in school achievement. There are serious risks to claims that low-income children, on average, hear sufficient, high-quality language relative to peers from higher income homes.

AB - Sperry, Sperry, and Miller (2018) aim to debunk what is called the 30-million-word gap by claiming that children from lower income households hear more speech than Hart and Risley () reported. We address why the 30-million-word gap should not be abandoned, and the importance of retaining focus on the vital ingredient to language learning—quality speech directed to children rather than overheard speech, the focus of Sperry et al.'s argument. Three issues are addressed: Whether there is a language gap; the characteristics of speech that promote language development; and the importance of language in school achievement. There are serious risks to claims that low-income children, on average, hear sufficient, high-quality language relative to peers from higher income homes.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85052623309&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85052623309&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/cdev.13128

DO - 10.1111/cdev.13128

M3 - Article

C2 - 30102419

AN - SCOPUS:85052623309

JO - Child Development

JF - Child Development

SN - 0009-3920

ER -