The aim of this study was to examine the influence of phonotactic probability (PP) and neighbourhood density (ND) on pseudoword learning in 17 Dutch-speaking typically developing children (mean age 7;2). They were familiarized with 16 one-syllable pseudowords varying in PP (high vs low) and ND (high vs low) via a storytelling procedure. The participants were tested on their production and comprehension of the pseudowords on three testing sessions: immediately after training, after a consolidation period without further training and after a one week retention period during which one more training session was given. The results show that both in production and comprehension PP had a significant influence on pseudowords with low ND: pseudowords in the condition with converging characteristics (low PP – low ND) were learned significantly better than those in the high PP – low ND condition. No effect of PP was found for pseudowords high in ND. These results give cross-linguistic support for earlier English findings that convergent PP/ND (low PP – low ND) facilitates triggering word learning in children.
Van Der Kleij, S., Rispens, J., & Scheper, A. R. (2016). The effect of phonotactic probability and neighbourhood density on pseudoword learning in 6-and 7-year-old children. First Language, 36(2), 93-108. https://doi.org/10.1177/0142723715626064