Phonological Working Memory and Spoken Language Development in Young Children

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Abstract:

This study investigated the relationship between phonological working memory and spoken language development in a large unselected sample of 4- and 5-year old children. Assessments were made of the language produced by the children on the Bus Story (Renfrew, 1969), a standard test of continuous speech. In this test, children listen to a story, which they then recount with the aid of visual clues. The amount of information recalled and the average length of the five longest utterances are taken as indices of children's expressive language abilities. Phonological working memory skills were indexed by memory span and the ability to repeat non-words. The ability to repeat non-words made a significant contribution to the variance in the children's speech independently of age, vocabulary knowledge, and nonverbal cognitive skills. The possible mechanisms by which skills assessed by phonological memory tasks may be linked to the development of speech production abilities are considered.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/713755610

Publication date: February 1, 1996

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