To explore whether imitation of novel behaviors might serve as a lexical acquisition strategy for some infants, relations between infants’ early spontaneous reproduction of novel and of familiar words and their subsequent lexicons were compared in a longitudinal sample of 20 infants during natural interactions with their mothers at 13, 17, and 21 months of age. Both maternal report and observational measures of noun and non-noun lexicons were analyzed. There were marked contrasts in quantity and proportions of nouns between reported and observed lexicons. However, when earlier vocabulary levels were statistically controlled, infants’ early replication of novel, but not familiar, words was associated with growth in both reported and observed noun and non-noun vocabularies. Infants’ early imitation of novel words predicts, and may facilitate, their later lexical development.
Frank Masur, Elise and Eichorst, Doreen L.
"Infants’ Spontaneous Imitation of Novel
Versus Familiar Words: Relations to
Observational and Maternal Report
Measures of Their Lexicons,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 48
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol48/iss4/5