Are young children with cochlear implants sensitive to the statistics of words in the ambient spoken language?

Ling Yu Guo, Karla K. McGregor, Linda J. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether children with cochlear implants (CIs) are sensitive to statistical characteristics of words in the ambient spoken language, whether that sensitivity changes in expected ways as their spoken lexicon grows, and whether that sensitivity varies with unilateral or bilateral implantation. Method: We analyzed archival data collected from the parents of 36 children who received cochlear implantation (20 unilateral, 16 bilateral) before 24 months of age. The parents reported their children’s word productions 12 months after implantation using the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories: Words and Sentences (Fenson et al., 1993). We computed the number of words, out of 292 possible monosyllabic nouns, verbs, and adjectives, that each child was reported to say and calculated the average phonotactic probability, neighborhood density, and word frequency of the reported words. Results: Spoken vocabulary size positively correlated with average phonotactic probability and negatively correlated with average neighborhood density, but only in children with bilateral CIs. Conclusion: At 12 months postimplantation, children with bilateral CIs demonstrate sensitivity to statistical characteristics of words in the ambient spoken language akin to that reported for children with normal hearing during the early stages of lexical development. Children with unilateral CIs do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-1000
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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