The syntactic and semantic features of two-year-olds' verb vocabularies

A comparison of typically developing children and late talkers

Sabrina Horvath, Leslie Rescorla, Sudha Arunachalam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Children with language disorders have particular difficulty with verbs, but when this difficulty emerges is unknown. We examined syntactic (transitive, intransitive, ditransitive) and semantic (manner, result) features of two-year-olds' verb vocabularies, contrasting late talkers and typically developing children to look for early differences in verb vocabulary. We conducted a retrospective analysis of parent-reported expressive vocabulary from the Language Development Survey (N = 564, N(LT) = 62) (Rescorla, 1989). Verbs were coded for the presence or absence of each syntactic and semantic feature. Binomial mixed-effects regressions revealed the effect of feature on children's knowledge and whether feature interacted with group classification. Our results revealed mostly similarities between late talkers and typically developing children. All children's vocabularies showed a bias against verbs that occur in ditransitive frames. One feature showed a difference between groups: late talkers showed a bias against manner verbs that typically developing children did not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Child Language
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Vocabulary
Semantics
vocabulary
semantics
Language Disorders
Child Language
Language Development
trend
language
Syntactic Features
Verbs
Late Talkers
Semantic Features
parents
Group
regression

Keywords

  • late talkers
  • verbs
  • vocabulary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Children with language disorders have particular difficulty with verbs, but when this difficulty emerges is unknown. We examined syntactic (transitive, intransitive, ditransitive) and semantic (manner, result) features of two-year-olds' verb vocabularies, contrasting late talkers and typically developing children to look for early differences in verb vocabulary. We conducted a retrospective analysis of parent-reported expressive vocabulary from the Language Development Survey (N = 564, N(LT) = 62) (Rescorla, 1989). Verbs were coded for the presence or absence of each syntactic and semantic feature. Binomial mixed-effects regressions revealed the effect of feature on children's knowledge and whether feature interacted with group classification. Our results revealed mostly similarities between late talkers and typically developing children. All children's vocabularies showed a bias against verbs that occur in ditransitive frames. One feature showed a difference between groups: late talkers showed a bias against manner verbs that typically developing children did not.",
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N2 - Children with language disorders have particular difficulty with verbs, but when this difficulty emerges is unknown. We examined syntactic (transitive, intransitive, ditransitive) and semantic (manner, result) features of two-year-olds' verb vocabularies, contrasting late talkers and typically developing children to look for early differences in verb vocabulary. We conducted a retrospective analysis of parent-reported expressive vocabulary from the Language Development Survey (N = 564, N(LT) = 62) (Rescorla, 1989). Verbs were coded for the presence or absence of each syntactic and semantic feature. Binomial mixed-effects regressions revealed the effect of feature on children's knowledge and whether feature interacted with group classification. Our results revealed mostly similarities between late talkers and typically developing children. All children's vocabularies showed a bias against verbs that occur in ditransitive frames. One feature showed a difference between groups: late talkers showed a bias against manner verbs that typically developing children did not.

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