What is it about?

We examined two factors that predicted children's ability to learn new words: their existing vocabulary knowledge and their ability to repeat made up words. We found that both factors predicted new word learning, but their relative importance depended on how new word learning was assessed.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Theories of word learning have implicated both nonword repetition skill and existing vocabulary knowledge as important foundations for new word learning. This study demonstrated the utility of using multiple assessments of word learning to measure the quality of learned word forms (spoken word representations) and meanings. The results indicate that the relative contributions of nonword repetition skill and existing vocabulary knowledge vary across different assessments of word learning.


This study demonstrated how different results might be obtained when children's word learning is assessed by different measures, varying by the type of word knowledge that is assessed (spoken word form vs. meaning) or task demand (recall vs. recognition). We are following up this study by using similar tasks to measure word learning in typically developing children and children with language or reading impairment.

Suzanne Adlof
University of South Carolina

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Nonword Repetition and Vocabulary Knowledge as Predictors of Children's Phonological and Semantic Word Learning, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, March 2017, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2016_jslhr-l-15-0441.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page