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Children's Vocabulary Development: The role of parental input, vocabulary composition and early communicative skills
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to examine the early vocabulary development of a sample of Swedish children in relation to parental input and early communicative skills. Three studies are situated in an overall description of early language development in children. The data analyzed in the thesis was collected within a larger project at Stockholm University (SPRINT- “Effects of enhanced parental input on young children’s vocabulary development and subsequent literacy development” [VR 2008-5094]).

Data analysis was based on parental report via SECDI, the Swedish version of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories, and audio recordings. One study examined parental verbal interaction characteristics in three groups of children with varying vocabulary size at 18 months. The stability of vocabulary development at 18 and 24 months was investigated in a larger study, with focus on children’s vocabulary composition and grammatical abilities. The third study examined interrelations among early gestures, receptive and productive vocabulary, and grammar measured with M3L, i.e. three longest utterances, from 12 to 30 months.

Overall results of the thesis highlight the importance of early language development. Variability in different characteristics in parental input is associated with variability in child vocabulary size. Children with large early vocabularies exhibit the most stability in vocabulary composition and the earliest grammatical development. Children’s vocabulary composition may reflect individual stylistic variation. Use of early gestures is associated differentially with receptive and productive vocabulary.

Results of the thesis have implications for parents, child- and healthcare personnel, as well as researchers and educational practitioners. The results underscore the importance of high quality in adult-child interaction, with rich input fine-tuned to children’s developmental levels and age, together with high awareness of early language development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Special Education, Stockholm University , 2014. , 230 p.
Keyword [en]
child language, vocabulary development, parent-child interaction, parental input, vocabulary composition, CDI, SECDI, CLAN, grammar, lexical-grammar relationships, communicative gestures, Sweden
National Category
Research subject
Special Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108079ISBN: 978-91-7649-002-0OAI: diva2:753731
Public defence
2014-11-13, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
SPRINT project
Available from: 2014-10-22 Created: 2014-10-08 Last updated: 2014-10-29Bibliographically approved

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