Children's Performance Abilities: Language Production

Children's Performance Abilities: Language Production


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Book Chapter


Chapter 22 in The Handbook of Psycholinguistics, edited by Eva M. Fernández & Helen Smith Cairns.

Chapter summary:

This chapter describes the language production system and samples research on its development in children. The field of language acquisition uses children's speech to buttress claims about their linguistic competence. Such reasoning assumes two forms: (a) lack of a structure in children's speech indicates that it is not part of their competence, and (b) the frequent occurrence of a non‐adult structure indicates a non‐adult grammar. We argue that it is essential to determine how a production system might separately influence child speech. Performance models can provide alternative accounts for some of the phenomena attributed to competence. Production models capture children's developing capacity to integrate lexical, syntactic, morphological, and phonological knowledge in real time as they produce sentences. Data commonly used to study this capacity include speech errors, dysfluency patterns, priming, and measures of rate. Current consensus finds that the production system is architecturally adult‐like early on, but less efficient.

Book description:

Incorporating approaches from linguistics and psychology, The Handbook of Psycholinguistics explores language processing and language acquisition from an array of perspectives and features cutting edge research from cognitive science, neuroscience, and other related fields.

The Handbook provides readers with a comprehensive review of the current state of the field, with an emphasis on research trends most likely to determine the shape of psycholinguistics in the years ahead. The chapters are organized into three parts, corresponding to the major areas of psycholinguists: production, comprehension, and acquisition. The collection of chapters, written by a team of international scholars, incorporates multilingual populations and neurolinguistic dimensions. Each of the three sections also features an overview chapter in which readers are introduced to the different theoretical perspectives guiding research in the area covered in that section.

Timely, comprehensive, and authoritative, The Handbook of Psycholinguistics is a valuable addition to the reference shelves of researchers in psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science, as well as advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in how language works in the human mind and how language is acquired.



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language production, child language acquisition, speech errors, dysfluency, priming, rate measures


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Children's Performance Abilities: Language Production