Lexical diversity and productivity in French preschooolers: developmental, gender and sociocultural factors

Abstract : In this study, we examined the influence of child gender and sociocultural (SCL) factors in language
production. Subjects were French Parisian children in nine age groups (24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 45
and 48 months). A total of 316 language samples were recorded during a 20-min standardized play
session. Measures of grammatical and lexical development included Mean Length of Utterance
(MLU) and word type and token—specifically, grammatical words such as determiners, prepositions
and pronouns as well as verbs. ANOVAs revealed strong influences of SCL, with children from high
SCL families showing more complex lexical productions and a higher rate of development. These
observations suggest that amount of exposure to language accounts for this differential rate of
acquisition. Analyses also revealed a general effect of gender, showing a small advantage in language
production for girls over boys until 36 months of age.
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Marie-Thérèse Le Normand, Christophe Parisse, Henri Cohen. Lexical diversity and productivity in French preschooolers: developmental, gender and sociocultural factors. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, Taylor & Francis, 2008, 22 (1), pp.47-58. ⟨10.1080/02699200701669945⟩. ⟨halshs-00202088⟩

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