Infant word segmentation and childhood vocabulary development: a longitudinal analysis
Article first published online: 23 FEB 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 482–495, July 2012
How to Cite
Singh, L., Steven Reznick, J. and Xuehua, L. (2012), Infant word segmentation and childhood vocabulary development: a longitudinal analysis. Developmental Science, 15: 482–495. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01141.x
- Issue published online: 18 JUN 2012
- Article first published online: 23 FEB 2012
- Received: 16 October 2010 Accepted: 3 January 2012
Infants begin to segment novel words from speech by 7.5 months, demonstrating an ability to track, encode and retrieve words in the context of larger units. Although it is presumed that word recognition at this stage is a prerequisite to constructing a vocabulary, the continuity between these stages of development has not yet been empirically demonstrated. The goal of the present study is to investigate whether infant word segmentation skills are indeed related to later lexical development. Two word segmentation tasks, varying in complexity, were administered in infancy and related to childhood outcome measures. Outcome measures consisted of age-normed productive vocabulary percentiles and a measure of cognitive development. Results demonstrated a strong degree of association between infant word segmentation abilities at 7 months and productive vocabulary size at 24 months. In addition, outcome groups, as defined by median vocabulary size and growth trajectories at 24 months, showed distinct word segmentation abilities as infants. These findings provide the first prospective evidence supporting the predictive validity of infant word segmentation tasks and suggest that they are indeed associated with mature word knowledge.
A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxzLi5oLZQ8.