Designed to provide practical information to those who are concerned with the development of young children, this book has three goals. First, the authors offer details about patterns of language development over the first three years of life. Although intensive studies have been carried out by examining from one to 20 children in the age range of zero to three years, there has been no longitudinal study of a sample as large as this--53 children--nor have as many measures of language development been obtained from the same children. Examining language development from a broad perspective in this size population allows us to see what generalizations can be made about patterns of language development.
This volume's second goal is to examine the impact of such factors as biology, cognition, and communication input--and the interaction of these factors--which traditionally have been held to play an important role in the course of language development. The comparative influence of each--and the interaction of all three--were examined statistically using children's scores on standard language tests at age three.
The volume's third goal is to provide information to beginning investigators, early childhood educators, and clinicians that can help them in their practice. This includes information about what appear to be good early predictors of language development at three years; language assessment procedures that can be used with children below age three, how these procedures can be used, what they tell us about the language development of young children; and what warning signs should probably be attended to, and which can most likely be ignored. In addition, suggestions are made about what patterns of communicative interaction during the different periods of development seem to be most successful in terms of language development outcomes at three years, and what overall indications the study offers regarding appropriate intervention.
"The accounts of specific cases are very well written and interesting. The analyses described in this book will serve as an excellent model for individuals conducting studies of language or for students who wish to have a rich account of language development….The text is written in a clear and readable manner and the data reported make a substantial contribution to knowledge."
"The well-organized discussions of the project are accompanied by comprehensive and focused literature reviews that will be valuable to both graduate students and researchers….A necessary addition to libraries in all institutions where there are departments that have any interest in children and their language development."
Contents: Preface. The Study. Measures of Development. From the Beginnings: The First Year. The Development of a First Lexicon: The Second Year. The Development of Expertise: The Third Year. Mother-Child Communication Interaction. Summary and Implications. Appendices: Parents' Lexical Diary -- Description and Coding Materials. Multiword Comprehension Test. Definitions of Semantic Categories. Functions of Language in Mother's Speech. Three-Part Comprehension Test. Speech Discrimination. Vocal Turntaking -- Transcription Rules. Measurement and Coding Rules of Speech. Mother's Requests for Nonverbal Action Coding Sheet.