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Characterization of children's verbal input in a forager‐farmer population using long‐form audio recordings and diverse input definitions


Scaff, Camila; Casillas, Marisa; Stieglitz, Jonathan; Cristia, Alejandrina (2024). Characterization of children's verbal input in a forager‐farmer population using long‐form audio recordings and diverse input definitions. Infancy, 29(2):196-215.

Abstract

There is little systematically collected quantitative empirical data on how much linguistic input children in small‐scale societies encounter, with some estimates suggesting low levels of directed speech. We report on an ecologically‐valid analysis of speech experienced over the course of a day by young children (N = 24, 6–58 months old, 33% female) in a forager‐horticulturalist population of lowland Bolivia. A permissive definition of input (i.e., including overlapping, background, and non‐linguistic vocalizations) leads to massive changes in terms of input quantity, including a quadrupling of the estimate for overall input compared to a restrictive definition (only near and clear speech), while who talked to and around a focal child is relatively stable across input definitions. We discuss implications of these results for theoretical and empirical research into language acquisition.

Abstract

There is little systematically collected quantitative empirical data on how much linguistic input children in small‐scale societies encounter, with some estimates suggesting low levels of directed speech. We report on an ecologically‐valid analysis of speech experienced over the course of a day by young children (N = 24, 6–58 months old, 33% female) in a forager‐horticulturalist population of lowland Bolivia. A permissive definition of input (i.e., including overlapping, background, and non‐linguistic vocalizations) leads to massive changes in terms of input quantity, including a quadrupling of the estimate for overall input compared to a restrictive definition (only near and clear speech), while who talked to and around a focal child is relatively stable across input definitions. We discuss implications of these results for theoretical and empirical research into language acquisition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Developmental and Educational Psychology, Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Language:English
Date:2024
Deposited On:12 Dec 2023 09:36
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1525-0008
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/infa.12568
PubMed ID:38014953