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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Adult responses to infant prelinguistic vocalizations are associated with infant vocabulary: A home observation study.

  • Author(s): Lopez, Lukas D
  • Walle, Eric A
  • Pretzer, Gina M
  • Warlaumont, Anne S
  • et al.

This study used LENA recording devices to capture infants' home language environments and examine how qualitative differences in adult responding to infant vocalizations related to infant vocabulary. Infant-directed speech and infant vocalizations were coded in samples taken from daylong home audio recordings of 13-month-old infants. Infant speech-related vocalizations were identified and coded as either canonical or non-canonical. Infant-directed adult speech was identified and classified into different pragmatic types. Multiple regressions examined the relation between adult responsiveness, imitating, recasting, and expanding and infant canonical and non-canonical vocalizations with caregiver-reported infant receptive and productive vocabulary. An interaction between adult like-sound responding (i.e., the total number of imitations, recasts, and expansions) and infant canonical vocalizations indicated that infants who produced more canonical vocalizations and received more adult like-sound responses had higher productive vocabularies. When sequences were analyzed, infant canonical vocalizations that preceded and followed adult recasts and expansions were positively associated with infant productive vocabulary. These findings provide insights into how infant-adult vocal exchanges are related to early vocabulary development.

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