Prevalence and developmental course of 'secret language'.

Thorpe, Karen, Greenwood, Rosemary, Eivers, Areana, & Rutter, Michael (2001) Prevalence and developmental course of 'secret language'. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 36(1), pp. 43-62.

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Abstract

The prevalence and developmental course of supposed ‘secret language’ was examined in a cohort of twins and closely spaced singletons pairs, with systematic assessments at 20 months and again at 36 months. Two forms of apparent ‘secret language’ were examined: (1) shared understanding—speech directed generally but unintelligible to the parent, although apparently clearly understood within the child pair, and (2) private language directed exclusively to the other twin/sibling—not intelligible to the parent, but apparently clearly understood and used only within the child pair. Both occurred in singleton pairs, but the rate was much higher in twins. In most cases it seemed to be a developmental phenomenon occurring in the second year of life with the emergence of immature speech, and decreasing considerably over the next 16 months. A small group of children, primarily male twins, was reported to use a private language at 36 months. This group had poorer cognitive and language functioning, and was characterized by highly dependent relationships. Some aspects of the twins’ home environment were less stimulating and less responsive, most probably reflecting the abilities and relationships of the children. A follow-up of these children when they were ~6 years of age showed that language outcome was poor for the subgroup (n = 4) who did not develop normal language alongside the use of a private language.

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ID Code: 90766
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: 'secret language', twins, singletons, developmental course, home environment
DOI: 10.1080/13682820120395
ISSN: 1460-6984
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Developmental Psychology and Ageing (170102)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Funding:
Copyright Owner: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Deposited On: 15 Dec 2015 23:21
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2015 23:21

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