Children's imitations of lexical items.

L. B. Leonard, R. G. Schwartz, M. K. Folger, M. Newhoff, M. J. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


3 experiments are reported in which the role of imitation in the acquisition of certain lexical items and factors influencing children's tendency to imitate these lexical items were examined. Imitation did not appear to facilitate the subsequent spontaneous use of lexical items. However, children's tendency to imitate lexical items appeared to be influenced by the novelty of the lexical item and its referent, the informativeness of the referent in the situation, and the lexical orientation of the children. The results are consistent with the interpretation that children's imitations involve the use of a supplied and previously unavailable lexical item under circumstances where lexical usage is highly probable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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