Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type



Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Eliana Colunga


The present research is a qualitative analysis of children’s vocabularies based on parent report. The focus is on vanishing words, or words that reportedly come and go from the vocabularies of children. The two general reasons for changing vocabularies are parent error or words actually leaving and returning to children’s vocabularies. The vanished words of two groups of children were examined to see if there were patterns behind the vanished words in an attempt to see if the source of this vanishing was random parent error, or something systematic either on the part of the child or the parent. Such a phenomena has not been examined before, and no definitive claims can be made from the present research regarding if words truly disappear and then return to the lexicon of children. However, the present study observes that children who exhibit a language delay in relation to their peers tend to have more instances of words coming and going from their vocabularies. Despite limitations, the present work opens up room for questions and speculation regarding parentally reported vocabularies.