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ERIC Number: EJ1050291
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Learning to Remember by Learning to Speak
Ettlinger, Marc; Lanter, Jennifer; Van Pay, Craig K.
Developmental Psychology, v50 n2 p431-438 Feb 2014
Does the language we speak affect the way we think, and if so, how? Previous researchers have considered this question by exploring the cognitive abilities of speakers of different languages. In the present study, we looked for evidence of linguistic relativity within a language and within participants by looking at memory recall for monolingual children ages 3-5 years old. At this age, children use grammatical markers with variable fluency depending on ease of articulation: Children produce the correct plural more often for vowel-final words (e.g., "shoes") than plosive-final words (e.g., "socks") and for plosive-final words more often than sibilant-final words (e.g., "dresses"). We examined whether these phonological principles governing plural production also influence children's recall of the plurality of seen objects. Fifty children were shown pictures of familiar objects presented as either singular or multiple instances. After a break, they were required to indicate whether they saw the singular- or multiple-instance version of each picture. Results show that children's memory for object plurality does depend on the phonology of the word. Subsequent tests of each child's production ability showed a correlation between a child's memory and his or her ability to articulate novel plurals with the same phonological properties. That is, what children can say impacts what they can remember.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory
Grant or Contract Numbers: T32 NS047987