OBJECTIVE. The primary aim of this study was to ascertain the relevance of the vocabulary of the Language Development Survey (LDS) for
typically developing South African toddlers who attend ethno-linguistically diverse early childhood development centres.
RATIONALE. The need for exploration of the expressive vocabulary of this population stems from the diverse linguistic contexts to which toddlers
are exposed on a day-to-day basis in South Africa. Many parents prefer English as the language of learning and teaching for their child. As a
result, toddlers interact with ethno-linguistically diverse peers from a young age, usually within their early childhood development centres.
METHOD. An adapted version of the LDS was presented to 40 middle-class parents in Mpumalanga. Vocabulary commonly used by toddlers was
determined and a comparison of parent responses made between the present study and the original American-based survey.
RESULTS. Results revealed that nouns were used most often by toddlers, in keeping with research on vocabulary acquisition. Significant correlations
between the two groups were evident in 12 of the 14 categories. Parents reported that nouns, verbs, adjectives and words from other word classes
were used similarly by toddlers, despite differences in their linguistic exposure.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the LDS is a valuable clinical screening tool for speech-language therapists who deliver services to
toddlers within the South African context.
This study was completed in partial fulfilment
of the requirements for the first author’s master’s degree in the Centre for Augmentative
and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria (http://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/28830)