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The influences of number of syllables and wordlikeness on children's repetition of nonwords.
Gathercole, S.E., Willis, C., Emslie, H. & Baddeley, A.D.
Applied Psycholinguistics, 12, 349-367.
Year of publication:
It has recently been suggested that the developmental association between nonword repetition performance and vocabulary knowledge reflects the contribution of phonological memory processes to vocabulary acquisition (e.g., Gathercole & Baddeley, 1989). An alternative account of the association is that the child uses existing vocabulary knowledge to support memory for nonwords. The present paper tests between these two alternative accounts, by evaluating the role of phonological memory and linguistic factors in nonword repetition. In a longitudinal database, repetition accuracy in four-, five- and six-year-olds was found to be sensitive to two independent factors: a phonological memory factor, nonword length, and a linguistic factor, wordlikeness. To explain these combined influences, it is suggested that repeating nonwords involves temporary phonological memory storage which may be supported by either a specific lexical analogy, or by an appropriate abstract phonological frame generated from structurally similar vocabulary items.