The effect of phonotactic probability and neighbourhood density on pseudoword learning in 6- and 7-year-old children
Number of pages
SourceFirst Language, 36, 2, (2016), pp. 93-108
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
The aim of this study was to examine the influence of phonotactic probability (PP) and neighbourhood density (ND) on pseudoword learning in 17 Dutch-speaking typically developing children (mean age 7; 2). They were familiarized with 16 one-syllable pseudowords varying in PP (high vs low) and ND (high vs low) via a storytelling procedure. The participants were tested on their production and comprehension of the pseudowords on three testing sessions: immediately after training, after a consolidation period without further training and after a one week retention period during which one more training session was given. The results show that both in production and comprehension PP had a significant influence on pseudowords with low ND: pseudowords in the condition with converging characteristics (low PP - low ND) were learned significantly better than those in the high PP - low ND condition. No effect of PP was found for pseudowords high in ND. These results give cross-linguistic support for earlier English findings that convergent PP/ND (low PP - low ND) facilitates triggering word learning in children.
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