Lexical and phonological organization in children: Evidence from repetition tasks

Benjamin Munson, Cyndie L. Swenson, Shayla C. Manthei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


This study examined the structure of children's mental lexicons through performance on 2 short experimental tasks, 1 in which children repeated familiar monosyllabic real words varying in neighborhood density and 1 in which they repeated CVC nonwords varying in phonotoctic probability. Two groups of typically developing children with mean ages of 4;3 (years;months; n = 16) and 7;2 (n = 15) participated. In the group of younger children, offset-to-onset response latencies were not systematically affected by lexicality, phonotactic probability, or neighborhood density. Onset-to-onset latencies showed an effect of phonotactic probability on nonword repetition. Children in the older group repeated high-density real words with longer latencies than low-density real words. They also repeated high-probability nonwords with shorter latencies than low-probability nonwords. This was true for both the onset-to-onset and offset-to-onset repetition latencies. Children in both age groups repeated vowels embedded in high-probability nonwords with shorter durations than vowels embedded in low-probability nonwords. These findings suggest that lexical competition and phonological facilitation emerge in development and that the rate of development is different for different dependent measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-124
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Children
  • Nonword repetition
  • Phonological neighborhood density
  • Phonotactic probability
  • Real-word repetition


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