ABSTRACT: The semantic abilities of children with pragmatic language impairment (PLI) are subject to debate. The authors investigated picture naming and definition skills in 5-year-olds with PLI in comparison to typically developing children.
84 children with PLI and 80 age-matched typically developing children completed receptive vocabulary, picture naming, and definition tasks.
The PLI group scored lower on the receptive vocabulary and picture naming tasks. Word length and frequency affected naming accuracy in both groups. Children with PLI showed higher numbers of semantic errors, nonrelated errors, and omissions and circumlocutions. The error-type distribution differed between groups: PLI children showed disproportionate levels of nonrelated errors. In the definition task, PLI children showed lower information accuracy for accurately named pictures and comparable accuracy for incorrectly named pictures. Qualitative analysis suggested a high incidence of pragmatically inappropriate definitions for the PLI group. Naming accuracy for both groups improved equally after giving semantic cues.
These findings suggest a deficit in object identification and/or naming selection. It might be premature to conclude that children with PLI show normal semantic abilities. The results are largely consistent with a general language delay; however, there is also some evidence of a qualitative difference between both groups.
Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research 02/2011; 54(1):87-98. · 1.88 Impact Factor