Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/handle/123456789/31975
Title: Early expressive lexical development : evidence from children brought up in Maltese-speaking families
Authors: Gatt, Daniela
Keywords: Lexicology
Child psychology
Communication -- Malta
Sociolinguistics
Issue Date: 2010
Citation: Gatt, D. (2010). Early expressive lexical development : evidence from children brought up in Maltese-speaking families (Doctoral dissertation).
Abstract: This study aimed to describe the development of lexical expression in typically-developing Maltese children aged between 12 and 30 months who were exposed primarily to Maltese language use in their homes. Although predominantly Maltese, children's input incorporated elements of English that made up a mixed language environment. Caregiver report, language sampling and confrontation naming methods, meshed with longitudinal and cross-sectional designs, yielded novel information on the earliest stages of expressive language development in Maltese children. Measures were analysed relative to age, vocabulary size and method of data collection employed. Primarily, findings enabled insight on Maltese children's rate of expressive lexical growth. Although vocabulary development profiles were largely similar to those documented for other languages, Maltese children's growth in word use was slower between 12 and 24 months. Finer analyses gauged the grammatical categories emerging in expressive vocabulary, as well as children's use of Maltese and English words. Shifting proportions of part-of-speech categories were largely consistent with universal trends documented in the literature. The use of English words tended to diminish as children grew older and their vocabularies expanded, suggesting a monolingual mode of development. A potential influencing factor was considered to be children's exposure to a single mixed language. Although methodological biases were found to impinge on results, concordant measures were obtained across methods. The clinical implications of reported findings were explored and their relevance to early intervention considered. Taken together, the findings reported in this thesis add to the cross-linguistic evidence on early language acquisition, contributing to the study of universals that shape early lexical development. Further, they provide a preliminary reference base that may guide the assessment, identification and management of early vocabulary delays in young Maltese-speaking children.
Description: PH.D.
URI: https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar//handle/123456789/31975
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacHScCT - 2010

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