Commun Sci Disord. 2017;22(4): 717-729.
Published online December 31, 2017.
doi: https://doi.org/10.12963/csd.17440
Lifespan Development of Word Use from Early Childhood to Old Age
YoonKyoung Leea , Jieun Choib , Ji Hye Yoona , Yu-Seop Kimc , Jun Sang Minb , and Jisu Kimc
aDivision of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea
bDepartment of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Graduate School of Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea
cDepartment of Convergence Software, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea
Corresponding Author: YoonKyoung Lee ,Tel: +82-33-248-2219, Fax: +82-33-256-3420, Email: ylee@hallym.ac.kr
Received October 5, 2017  Revised: December 6, 2017   Accepted December 12, 2017
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This study aimed to examine lifelong lexical development from early childhood to old age.
Typically developing children, adolescents, young adults, older adults, and elderly adults (N=120) participated in the study. The participants were classified to six age groups; early childhood, late childhood, adolescent, young adult, older adult, and elderly whose mean ages were 5, 10, 16, 28, 53, and 67 years, respectively. Language samples of the participants were taken during semi-structured conversation with an examiner. Total number of word (TNW), number of different word (NDW), and type-token ratio (TTR), depending on word class, were measured.
TNW and NDW increased from early childhood to adolescence significantly, then decreased in the age groups after young adulthood. TTR decreased gradually from early childhood to adolescence, but was consistent from young adults to the elderly. There were differences in TNW, NDW, and TTR according to word class. Noun, verb, adverb, and adjective usage increased from early childhood to adolescence significantly, and then slightly decreased in young adults and was maintained by the elderly. TNW of pronoun gradually increased from adolescence to old age, and TNW and NDW also increased during adulthood. The TTR of early and later childhood was higher than .5, but less than .4 in adolescents and young adults. Discriminant analysis showed adverb TNW, verb NDW, adjective TNW, and adverb NDW were good discriminators between the age groups.
The results provide useful implications for understanding lifelong language development from preschoolers to the elderly.
Keywords: Lifelong language development | Lexical development | Word use | TNW | NDW | TTR
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