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Factors that influence vocabulary development in two-year-old children

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This research explored the relative impact of demographic, cognitive, behavioural, and psycholinguistic factors on vocabulary development in two-year-old children. Methods: 

Two hundred and thirty-two children (24–30 months) were tested on expressive and receptive vocabulary, cognitive development, word learning and working memory skills. Parents completed a British adaptation ( Klee & Harrison, 2001) of the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI; Fenson et al., 1993), a demographic questionnaire and a questionnaire regarding the child’s social-emotional behaviour. Results: 

Several demographic, child and processing variables were significantly correlated with CDI (vocabulary) scores, but the only significant unique predictors of CDI scores were nonword repetition (NWR; R2 change = .36), sex (R2 change = .05) and age (R2 change = .04). Scores were only included when a child completed the entire NWR test (77% of toddlers). Conclusions: 

The NWR task used in this experiment maximised participation in this group of toddlers, and was a strong predictor of vocabulary ability. Longitudinal research is warranted to explore the independent and reciprocal growth in working memory and language skills in children.
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Keywords: Language development; vocabulary development; working memory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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