SAGE Journal Articles

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SAGE Journal User Guide

Article 1: Saffran, J. R., Newport, E. L., Aslin, R. N., Tunick, R. A., & Barrueco, S. (1997). Incidental language learning: listening (and learning) out of the corner of your ear. Psychological Science, 8(2), 101-105.  

  • An empirical study showing that first graders and adults could learn what counted as a word in an artificial language by unintentionally picking up on syllable transition patterns between vs. within words.

Discussion Questions

  1. Identify the authors’ main research question. What are the three characteristics they are testing for?
  2. Define word segmentation. Using the stimuli in Table 1, make up and write down a string of syllables that includes “words” with high transitional probabilities within them, and “nonwords” with low transitional probabilities within them. Make sure that it’s the combination of syllables in a series that tells you what is likely to be a word vs. not a word.
  3. Describe how learning of word segmentation was tested. Would you describe this as a more direct or indirect test?
  4. Did children acquire the words better, worse, or the same as the adults? How about over time (experiment 1 compared to 2)? Do you think these results relate to the critical period in language development? Why or why not, and how so? 

Article 2: Burke, D. M., & Shafto, M. A. (2004). Aging and language production. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13(1), 21-24. doi: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.01301006.x

  • A review and position paper describing the transmission-deficit model of lexical access to help explain the kinds of retrieval failures that adults can experience as they grow older. 

Discussion Questions

  1. Which components of lexical representation does the transmission-deficit model include, and how are they organized and connected? Which components and/or connections are proposed to weaken with age?
  2. Compare this model to the dual route model of lexical access discussed in chapter 8 (direct vs. indirect routes). How does the transmission-deficit model account for irregular spelling? Do you think it should account for irregular sound changes, such as past tense verbs like sang à sung or run à ran?
  3. If you were a bilingual adult, do you think you would also show difficulty with accessing the phonological and orthographic information? From chapter 9, recall what kinds of abilities are typically enhanced in bilinguals and which are not.