The influence of attention to phonetic detail in speech perception on vocabulary development: Early prevention of developmental language delay

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2008
End date: 31/12/2011
Funding: 3312000 SEK


Vocabulary size is an important basic language skill and a good predictor for later language development such as reading acquisition. Lexical acquisition relies upon fine-grained perceptual skills such as children’s attention to phonetic detail in spoken words leading to phonological sensitivity and language-specific speech perception. The better children are at listening to such information, the greater their lexicon size. The relationship between the lexicon and these two perceptual skills are to be confirmed in 16- to 20-month-old Swedish language environment children in a longitudinal study. In this period, rapid vocabulary growth takes place which is expected to be positively affected by phonological sensitivity and language-specific speech perception. Vocabulary size will be measured with the Swedish Communicative Development Inventory, a parental questionnaire; phonological sensitivity will be measured with a mispronunciation detection task, and language-specific speech perception will be measured using the conditioned headturn paradigm, using the eye tracker in both cases. Once the influence of the perceptual skills on vocabulary is established for the period of the vocabulary spurt, a training programme for phonological sensitivity and speech perception will be devised and tested for its effect on vocabulary size. It can be an early intervention option for children who show delay in their vocabulary at 18 months.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:58