Journal of Child Language (J CHILD LANG )

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


A key publication in the field Journal of Child Language publishes articles on all aspects of the scientific study of language behaviour in children the principles which underlie it and the theories which may account for it. The international range of authors and breadth of coverage allow the journal to forge links between many different areas of research including psychology linguistics cognitive science and anthropology. This interdisciplinary approach spans a wide range of interests: phonology phonetics morphology syntax vocabulary semantics pragmatics sociolinguistics or any other recognised facet of language study. In addition to articles and book reviews the journal contains a "Notes" section and a new occasional section has been added which contains a review article plus commentaries by a range of other researchers.

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    Journal of Child Language website
  • Other titles
    Journal of child language
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    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Cambridge University Press

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    • On authors personal or departmental web page or institutional repository or PubMed Central
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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT The gender and number of a direct object clitic pronoun are based on the gender and number of the noun to which it refers. Grammatical gender is an intrinsic property of the lexical item that is independent from the natural sex of referents, whereas number is a non-intrinsic feature of nouns based on the conceptual level of quantity. The aim of this paper is to investigate children's ability in matching Italian direct object clitic pronouns to an inanimate visual referent on the basis of number or gender information. The dependent variables are accuracy and response time. A total of sixty-nine children aged from 4;6 to 7;5 participated. The results show that children are more accurate and faster in selecting the referent when they use number information compared to the condition in which this matching operation is led by gender.
    Journal of Child Language 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Conventional implicatures are omnipresent in daily life communication but experimental research on this topic is sparse, especially research with children. The aim of this study was to investigate if eight- to twelve-year-old children spontaneously make the conventional implicature induced by but, so, and nevertheless in 'p but q' sentences. Additionally, the study aimed to shed light on the cognitive effort required for these inferences by measuring working memory (WM) capacity. Our results show that children do make these inferences to a certain extent, but are sensitive to the content of the arguments. We found a significant effect of sentence type, but did not observe any developmental effect, nor any effect of WM: a higher age or WM capacity does not result in more pragmatic inferences.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Major large-scale research projects in the early years of developmental psycholinguistics were English-based, yet even then numerous studies were available or under way in a range of different languages (Ferguson & Slobin, 1973). Since then, the field of cross-linguistic child language research has burgeoned in several directions. First, rich information is now available on the acquisition of dozens of languages from around the world in numerous language families, spearheaded by the five-volume series edited by Slobin (1985-1997) and complemented by in-depth examination of specific constructions - e.g. causative alternation, motion verbs, passive voice, subject elision, noun compounding - in various languages, culminating in an in-depth examination of the acquisition of ergativity in over a dozen languages (Bavin & Stoll, 2013). A second fruitful direction is the application of carefully comparable designs targeting a range of issues among children acquiring different languages, including: production of early lexico-grammatical constructions (Slobin, 1982), sentence processing comprehension (MacWhinney & Bates, 1989), expression of spatial relations (Bowerman, 2011), discourse construction of oral narratives based on short picture series (Hickmann, 2003) and longer storybooks (Berman & Slobin, 1994), and extended texts in different genres (Berman, 2008). Taken together, research motivated by the question of what is particular and what universal in child language highlights the marked, and early, impact of ambient language typology on processes of language acquisition. The challenge remains to operationalize such insights by means of psychologically sound and linguistically well-motivated measures for evaluating the interplay between the variables of developmental level, linguistic domain, and ambient language typology.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:26-37.
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT In the early years of the Journal of Child Language, there was considerable disagreement about the role of language input or adult-child interaction in children's language acquisition. The view that quantity and quality of input to language-learning children is relevant to their language development has now become widely accepted as a principle guiding advice to parents and the design of early childhood education programs, even if it is not yet uncontested in the field of language development. The focus on variation in the language input to children acquires particular educational relevance when we consider variation in access to academic language - features of language particularly valued in school and related to success in reading and writing. Just as many children benefit from language environments that are intentionally designed to ensure adequate quantity and quality of input, even more probably need explicit instruction in the features of language that characterize its use for academic purposes.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:117-23.
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Children with specific language impairment (SLI) are distinguishable from typically developing children primarily in the pace and course of their language development. For this reason, they are appropriate candidates for inclusion in any theory of language acquisition. In this paper, the areas of overlap between children with SLI and those developing in typical fashion are discussed, along with how the joint study of these two populations can enhance our understanding of the language development process. In particular, evidence from children with SLI can provide important information concerning the role of language typology in language development, the optimal ages for acquiring particular linguistic details, the robustness of the bilingual advantage for children, the role of input in children's acquisition of grammatical details, the unintended influence of processing demands during language assessment, the contributions of treatment designs to the study of typically developing children, and the study of individual differences in language development.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:38-47.
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Young children are skilled language learners. They apply their skills to the language input they receive from their parents and, in this way, derive patterns that are statistically related to their input. But being an excellent statistical learner does not explain why children who are not exposed to usable linguistic input nevertheless communicate using systems containing the fundamental properties of language. Nor does it explain why learners sometimes alter the linguistic input to which they are exposed (input from either a natural or an artificial language). These observations suggest that children are prepared to learn language. Our task now, as it was in 1974, is to figure out what they are prepared with - to identify properties of language that are relatively easy to learn, the resilient properties, as well as properties of language that are more difficult to learn, the fragile properties. The new tools and paradigms for describing and explaining language learning that have been introduced into the field since 1974 offer great promise for accomplishing this task.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:64-77.
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Perusing early issues of this Journal from nearly forty years ago, we find many topics on the contents lists that could appear in a current issue. But the resources available to contributors for addressing questions of interest have changed dramatically, not least in the public availability of data. Here we look briefly at two assets which have accrued to the field in the intervening decades, and at the contributions they make. CHILDES provides a level playing field on which debates about the import of language sample data, especially longitudinal data, can be played out. The MBCDI and its offspring encourage the collection of data from large samples of individuals and so promote the exploration of factors that may explain individual differences. Both have been major contributions to the field.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:18-25.
  • Article: Editorial.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:v-vi.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Recent research has highlighted several areas where pragmatics plays a central role in the process of acquiring a first language. In talking with their children, adults display their uses of language in each context, and offer extensive feedback on form, meaning, and usage, within their conversational exchanges. These interactions depend critically on joint attention, physical co-presence, and conversational co-presence - essential factors that help children assign meanings, establish reference, and add to common ground. For young children, getting their meaning across also depends on realizing language is conventional, that words contrast in meaning, and that they need to observe Grice's cooperative principle in conversation. Adults make use of the same pragmatic principles as they solicit repairs to what children say, and thereby offer feedback on both what the language is and how to use it.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:105-16.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT I first outline three major developments in child language research over the past forty years: the use of computational modelling to reveal the structure of information in the input; the focus on quantifying productivity and abstraction; and developments in the explanation of systematic errors. Next, I turn to what I consider to be major outstanding issues: how the network of constructions builds up and the relationship between social and cognitive development and language learning. Finally, I briefly consider a number of other areas of importance to a psychologically realistic understanding of children's language development.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:48-63.
  • Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:124-31.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT The entry into language via first words and, the acquisition of word meanings is considered from the perspective of publications in the Journal of Child Language over the past forty years. Problems in achieving word meanings include the disparate and sparse concepts available to the child from past prelanguage experience. Variability in beginning word learning and in its progress along a number of dimensions suggests the problems that children may encounter, as well as the strategies and styles they adopt to make progress. Social context and adult practices are vitally involved in the success of this process. Whereas much headway has been made over the past decades, much remains to be revealed through dynamic systems theory and developmental semiotic analyses, as well as laboratory research aimed at social context conditions.
    Journal of Child Language 07/2014; 41 Suppl 1:93-104.
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Two experiments tested whether Russian-speaking children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) are sensitive to gender agreement when performing a gender decision task. In Experiment 1, the presence of overt gender agreement between verbs and/or adjectival modifiers and postverbal subject nouns memory was varied. In Experiment 2, agreement violations were introduced and the targets varied between words, pseudo-words, or pseudo-words with derivational suffixes. In both experiments, children with DLD did not differ from typically developing children in their reaction time or sensitivity to agreement features. In both groups, trials with feminine gender resulted in a higher error rate. Children with DLD displayed lower overall accuracy, which was related to differences in phonological memory in both experiments. Furthermore, in Experiment 1 group differences were not maintained after phonological memory was entered as a covariate. The results are discussed with respect to various processing and linguistic theories of DLD.
    Journal of Child Language 03/2014; 41(2):241-274.
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    ABSTRACT: Young children’s first attempts at CVC words are often realized with the final consonant being heavily aspirated or followed by an epenthetic vowel (e.g., cat /kæt/ realized as [kæth] or [kætə]). This has led some to propose that young children represent word-final (coda) consonants as an onset-nucleus sequence CV.Cv) (e.g., Goad & Brannen, 2003), raising questions about the syllabic status of the final consonant. To address this issue, we conducted an acoustic analysis of a child’s early production of CVC, CVCh, and CVCV words between the ages of 1;3-1;5 years. Aside from aspiration, the results showed that there were no significant acoustic differences etween the CVC and CVCh forms. In contrast, there were systematic acoustic differences in C2 closure duration between the CVC/CVCh and CVCV target words, suggesting that at least some children learning English have early coda representations for monosyllabic CVC words, whether heavily aspirated or not.
    Journal of Child Language 01/2014;

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