STEIN alejandra
congresos y reuniones científicas
Lexical Input to Young Children at Home. A Study in Extremely Poor Communities in Argentina
Congreso; 2011 SRCD Biennial Meeting; 2011
Institución organizadora:
Society for Research in Child Development
The study analyzes the lexical properties of the linguistic context that children from marginalized-urban neighbourhoods from Argentina are exposed to daily in play, meal and hygiene situations, comparing it with: a) the lexical surround that children from working class of other countries are exposed to and b) the vocabulary that Argentinean children listen in literacy situations generated by an at-home early literacy program. Recent studies have shown that vocabulary plays a relevant role in learning to read and write: there is a strong correlation between vocabulary and word recognition (Snow and others, 1995) and vocabulary size is associated with the quality of the phonological form of the words, which influences the development of phonological awareness as well as learning to read and write words (Goswami, 2002). Furthermore, a large vocabulary is one of the best predictors of reading comprehension (Perfetti, 2007). Differences in the size of children’s vocabularies develop in infancy as a consequence of the opportunities offered by their environment rather than as a consequence of individual capabilities. The quality of the lexical surround differs between families from different socio-economic groups. At 4 years of age, the size of a child’s vocabulary is determined to a great extent by the number of word tokens and word types that their parents use, and by their parents’ use of uncommon vocabulary (Hart & Risley, 1995). This points to the importance of studying the lexical environment that young children are exposed to at home as well as exploring the best ways to improve it. The sample of the present study included: a) 11,315 interactional turns (children: 4,232; adults: 7,083) recorded in literacy situations in the homes of 15 children (4:5) and b) 78,445 interactional turns (children: 33,549; adults: 44,896) recorded in spontaneous situations -play, hygiene, meal- in the home of 20 children of the same age and population. Both corpora were transcribed according to the Code for the Human Analysis of Transcripts and analyzed using the Computerized Language Analysis. The quantity and diversity of the vocabulary that children were exposed to were measured. The vocabulary was also analyzed taking into account the level of abstraction and the level of familiarity for the children. Results showed that in spontaneous situations children from marginalized neighbours from Argentina are exposed to a less rich vocabulary than children from working class from other countries (Weizman & Snow, 2001): while Argentinean children listen to 402 words and 109 different types of words in 20 minutes, American working class children listen to 792 words and to 259 different types of words in the same period of time. On the other part, literacy situations provided Argentinean children with an enriched lexical input: a higher amount of word tokens (952 in literacy situations vs. 402 in spontaneous situations) and word types (207 in literacy situations vs. 115 in spontaneous situations), more words that represented phenomena not directly observable (23 per 100 words in literacy situations vs. 12 per 100 words in spontaneous situations) and more connectors -but, because, after, then-.