We investigated phonemic competence in production in three age groups of children - 7 and 8 years, 10 and 11 years, 12 and 13 years-using rhyme and phoneme monitoring. Participants were required to name target pictures silently while monitoring covert speech for the presence or absence of a rhyme or phoneme match. Performance in the verbal tasks was compared to a nonverbal control task in which participants monitored tone sequence pairs for a pattern match. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed significant differences between the three age groups in phoneme monitoring while similar differences were limited to the younger age groups in rhyme monitoring. This finding supported early and on-going acquisition of rhyme- and later acquisition of segment-level units. In addition, the 7 and 8-year-olds were significantly slower in monitoring phonemes within consonant clusters compared to the 10 and 11-year-olds and in monitoring both singleton phonemes and phonemes within clusters compared to the 12 and 13-year-olds. Regression analysis revealed that age accounted for approximately 30% variance in the nonverbal and 60% variance in the verbal monitoring tasks. We attribute the observed differences to the emergence of cognitive processes such as segmentation skills that are critical to performing the verbal monitoring tasks.
Some second language (L2) learners return from study abroad experiences with seemingly no change in their L2 ability. In this study we investigate whether a certain level of internal cognitive resources is necessary in order for individuals to take full advantage of the study abroad experience. Specifically, we examined the role of working memory resources in lexical comprehension and production for learners who had or had not studied abroad. Participants included native English learners of Spanish. Participants completed a translation recognition task and a picture-naming task. The results suggest that individuals who lack a certain threshold of working memory resources are unable to benefit from the study abroad context in terms of being able to produce accurately in the L2.
Cochlear implants allow many individuals with profound hearing loss to understand spoken language, even though the impoverished signals provided by these devices poorly preserve acoustic attributes long believed to support recovery of phonetic structure. Consequently questions may be raised regarding whether traditional psycholinguistic theories rely too heavily on phonetic segments to explain linguistic processing while ignoring potential roles of other forms of acoustic structure. This study tested that possibility. Adults and children (8 years old) performed two tasks: one involving explicit segmentation, phonemic awareness, and one involving a linguistic task thought to operate more efficiently with well-defined phonetic segments, short-term memory. Stimuli were unprocessed signals (UP), amplitude envelopes (AE) analogous to implant signals, and unprocessed signals in noise (NOI) which provided a degraded signal for comparison. Adults' results for short-term recall were similar for UP and NOI, but worse for AE stimuli. The phonemic awareness task revealed the opposite pattern across AE and NOI. Children's results for short-term recall showed similar decrements in performance for AE and NOI compared to UP, even though only NOI stimuli showed diminished results for segmentation. Conclusions were that perhaps traditional accounts are too focused on phonetic segments, something implant designers and clinicians need to consider.
This study reports on a comparison of the use and knowledge of tense-marking morphemes in English by first language (L1), second language (L2) and specifically language-impaired (SLI) children. The objective of our research was to ascertain whether the L2 children's tense acquisition patterns were similar or dissimilar to those of the L1 and SLI groups, and whether they would fit an (Extended) Optional Infinitive profile, or an L2-based profile, e.g., the Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis. Results showed that the L2 children had a unique profile compared with their monolingual peers, which was better characterized by the Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis. At the same time, results reinforce the assumption underlying the (Extended) Optional Infinitive profile that internal constraints on the acquisition of tense could be a component of L1 development, with and without SLI.
The effects of the age of acquisition (AoA) of words were examined in the clinical treatment of 10 preschool children with phonological delays. Using a single-subject multiple-baseline experimental design, children were enrolled in one of four conditions that varied the AoA of the treated words (early vs. late acquired) relative to their corresponding word frequency (high vs. low frequency). Phonological generalization to treated and untreated sounds in error served as the dependent variable. Results showed that late acquired words induced greater generalization, with an effect size four times greater than early acquired words, whereas the effects of word frequency were minimized. Results are discussed relative to hypotheses about the role of AoA in language acquisition and the relevance of this variable for phonological learning.
The goals of the current study were (1) to assess differences in child and adult pausing, and (2) to determine whether characteristics of child and adult pausing can be explained by the same language variables. Spontaneous speech samples were obtained from ten 5-year-olds and their accompanying parent using a storytelling/retelling task. Analyses of pause frequency, duration, variation in durations, and pause location indicated that pause time decreased with retelling, but not with age group except when child and adult pausing was considered in its speech and language context. The results suggest that differences in child and adult pausing reflect differences in child and adult language, not in the cognitive resources allocated to language production.
Young children produce gestures to disambiguate arguments. This study explores whether the gestures they produce are constrained by discourse-pragmatic principles: person and information status. We ask whether children use gesture more often to indicate the referents that have to be specified, i.e., 3(rd) person and new referents, than the referents that do not have to be specified, i.e., 1(st)/2(nd) person and given referents. Chinese- and English-speaking children were videotaped while interacting spontaneously with adults, and their speech and gestures were coded for referential expressions. We found that both groups of children tended to use nouns when indicating 3(rd) person and new referents but pronouns or null arguments when indicating 1(st)/2(nd) person and given referents. They also produced gestures more often when indicating 3(rd) person and new referents, particularly when those referents were ambiguously conveyed by less explicit referring expressions (pronouns, null arguments). Thus Chinese- and English-speaking children show sensitivity to discourse-pragmatic principles not only in speech but also in gesture.
We investigated the factors that may help understand the differential rates of language development in the home language (i.e., Spanish) of Latino preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI). Children were randomly assigned to either bilingual or English-only small group interventions and followed from preschool to kindergarten. Predictors of Spanish growth included the language of intervention, the child's level of language development or severity, the child's socio-emotional skills, and the child's level of English use. Spanish performance outcomes were assessed over time using a series of longitudinal models with baseline and post-treatment measures nested within child. Children demonstrated growth on Spanish outcomes over time. The language of instruction and the child's level of vocabulary and socio-emotional development at baseline were significant predictors of differences in rates of growth in the home language. Clinicians may need to take into consideration these factors when making clinical recommendations.
We examined recalled narratives of boys with fragile X syndrome with autism spectrum disorder (FXS-ASD; N=28) and without ASD (FXS-O; N=29), and compared them to those of boys with Down syndrome (DS; N=33) and typically developing boys (TD; N=39). Narratives were scored for mentions of macrostructural Story Grammar elements (Introduction, Relationship, Initiating Events, Internal Response, Attempts/Actions, and Ending). We found that narrative recall is predicted by short-term memory and nonverbal mental age levels in almost all groups (except TD), but not by expressive syntax or caregiver education. After adjusting for these covariates, there were no differences between the three groups with intellectual disability (ID). The FXS-ASD group, however, had significantly poorer performance than the TD group on the overall Story Grammar score, and both the FXS-O and FXS-ASD groups had lower Attempts/Actions scores than the TD group. We conclude that some form of narrative impairment may be associated with FXS, that this impairment may be shared by other forms of ID, and that the presence of ASD has a significantly detrimental effect on narrative recall.
This study examined metalinguistic awareness in children who were becoming bilingual in an immersion education program. The purpose was to determine at what point in emerging bilingualism the previously reported metalinguistic advantages appear and what types of metalinguistic tasks reveal these developmental differences. Participants were 124 children in second and fifth grades who were enrolled in either a French immersion or a regular English program. All children were from monolingual English-speaking homes and attended local public schools in middle socioeconomic neighborhoods. Measures included morphological awareness, syntactic awareness, and verbal fluency, with all testing in English. These tasks differed in their need for executive control, a cognitive ability that is enhanced in bilingual children. Overall, the metalinguistic advantages reported in earlier research emerged gradually, with advantages for tasks requiring more executive control (grammaticality judgment) appearing later and some tasks improving but not exceeding performance of monolinguals (verbal fluency) even by fifth grade. These findings demonstrate the gradual emergence of changes in metalinguistic concepts associated with bilingualism over a period of about 5 years. Performance on English-language proficiency tasks was maintained by French immersion children throughout in spite of schooling being conducted in French.
Bilingual children's language and literacy is stronger in some domains than others. Reanalysis of data from a broad-scale study of monolingual English and bilingual Spanish-English learners in Miami provided a clear demonstration of "profile effects," where bilingual children perform at varying levels compared to monolinguals across different test types. The profile effects were strong and consistent across conditions of socioeconomic status, language in the home, and school setting (two way or English immersion). The profile effects indicated comparable performance of bilingual and monolingual children in basic reading tasks, but lower vocabulary scores for the bilinguals in both languages. Other test types showed intermediate scores in bilinguals, again with substantial consistency across groups. These profiles are interpreted as primarily due to the "distributed characteristic" of bilingual lexical knowledge, the tendency for bilingual individuals to know some words in one language but not the other and vice versa.
I commend Johanne Paradis not only for her interesting keynote article but also for the careful research that she has conducted along with her collaborators in the area of bilingual language development and disorders. Her contributions have been significant and are sure to shape our theoretical as well as clinical understanding of specific language impairment (SLI). In this commentary, I focus on three issues. The first stems quite directly from ideas raised in the keynote article; the second and third deal with factors that we need to consider when conducting research involving comparison groups of bilingual and monolingual children with SLI.
The purpose of this study was to examine within and across language relationships between lexical and grammatical domains by focusing on measures of lexical diversity and grammatical complexity in Spanish and English. One hundred and ninety-six preschool and school-aged Latino children with different levels of English and Spanish proficiencies and different language abilities produced narratives in Spanish, English, or both. Analyses revealed strong associations between lexical (number of different words and number of different verbs) and grammatical measures (mean length of utterances in words and use of ditransitive predicates), supporting the domain interdependence hypothesis within a language. Cross-linguistic comparisons indicate a greater diversity of verbs and ditransitive predicates in Spanish compared to English for this population. In the language samples of children who produced narratives in the two languages, there was no relationship between the two domains across languages. The lack of cross-language correlations may be related to other variables influencing lexical and semantic development in bilingual learners. Methodological issues to be considered in future studies with bilingual speakers are discussed.
Parental input represents an important source of language socialization. Particularly in bilingual contexts, parents may model pragmatic language use and metalinguistic strategies to highlight language differences. The present study examines multiparty interactions involving 28 bilingual English- and Marathi-speaking parent-child pairs in the presence of monolingual bystanders (children's mean ages: 3;2 and 4;6). Their language use was analyzed during three sessions: parent and child alone, parent and child with the English speaker, and parent and child with the Marathi speaker. Parents demonstrated pragmatic differentiation by using relatively more of the bystander's language; however, children did not show this sensitivity. Further, parents used a variety of strategies to discuss language differences, such as providing and requesting translations; children translated most often in response to explicit requests. The results indicate that parents model pragmatic language differentiation as well as metalinguistic talk that may contribute to children's metalinguistic awareness.
The purpose of this study is twofold: (a) to examine whether English finite morphology has the potential to differentiate children with and without language impairment (LI) from Spanish-speaking backgrounds and different levels of English proficiency in comparison to Hispanic English speakers and (b) to investigate the extent to which children who are bilingual exhibit differences in their grammatical performance because of cross-linguistic influence from their first language. Seventy-one children between the ages of 4 years, 5 months and 6 years, 5 months were distributed into the following five groups: English as a first language (EL1) speakers with typical language development (TLD), EL1 speakers with LI, Spanish-English bilinguals with TLD, Spanish-English bilinguals with LI, and English as a second language (EL2) learners with TLD were compared on regular verb finiteness and nominative subject use using spontaneous narrative samples. The EL1 children with LI had significantly lower verb accuracy rates than the EL1 controls with TLD. Verb finiteness marking was also a significant discriminator for the bilinguals with LI. There was no evidence of cross-linguistic influence, however. The analysis indicated no significant differences between EL1 and bilingual children on subject or verb use. The EL2 group only presented difficulties with finite verb use. The typological differences between English and Spanish for overt subject use did not seem to affect the performance of either typical or atypical bilingual learners. The findings underscore the need for addressing language dominance in future bilingual studies.
Dual language children enter school with varying levels of proficiencies in their first and second language. This study of Latino children of immigrants (N = 163) analyzes their dual language profiles at kindergarten and second grade, derived from the direct assessment of Spanish and English proficiencies (Woodcock Language Proficiency Batteries-Revised). Children were grouped based on the similarity of language profiles (competent profiles, such as dual proficient, Spanish proficient, and English proficient; and low-performing profiles, including borderline proficient and limited proficient). At kindergarten, the majority of children (63%) demonstrated a low-performing profile; by second grade, however, the majority of children (64%) had competent profiles. Change and stability of language profiles over time of individual children were then analyzed. Of concern, are children who continued to demonstrate a low-performing, high-risk profile. Factors in the linguistic environments at school and home, as well as other family and child factors associated with dual language profiles and change/stability over time were examined, with a particular focus on the persistently low-performing profile groups.
This longitudinal study investigated changes in reported language usage between Puerto Rican mothers and their preschoolers over a 4-year period. It also examined whether differences in language usage occurred depending on the timing of children's exposure to English and children's gender. Seventy-six mothers reported the languages they and their children used when talking to each other during 2 years in Head Start, kindergarten, and first grade. Mothers of children who were exposed to Spanish and English prior to preschool entry reported using more English to their children than mothers of children who were not exposed to English until after preschool entry. The language usage of the children followed the same patterns as their mothers. The difference between the groups was maintained over the 4 years, although both groups increased their English usage. A gender effect was observed. Mothers of girls were five times more likely to use "More or All Spanish" than mothers of sons. In addition, girls who were exposed to Spanish only prior to preschool entry were six times more likely to speak to their mothers in "More or All Spanish" than other participating children. The bidimensional model of acculturation is used to present and interpret the findings.
Sixteen children (17 age mates, 17 vocabulary mates) with specific language impairment (SLI) participated in two studies. In the first, they named fantasy objects. All groups coined novel noun-noun compounds on a majority of trials but only the SLI group had difficulty ordering the nouns as dictated by semantic context. In the second study, the children described the meaning of conventional noun-noun compounds. The SLI and AM groups did not differ in parsing the nouns, but the SLI group was poorer at explaining the semantic relationships between them. Compared to vocabulary mates, a larger proportion of the SLI group successfully parsed the compounds but a smaller proportion could explain them. These difficulties may reflect problems in the development of links within the semantic lexicon.
In six analyses using CHILDES (MacWhinney, 2000), we explored whether and how parents and their 1.5 to 5-year-old children talk about writing. Parent speech might include information about the similarity between print and speech and about the difference between writing and drawing. Parents could convey similarity between print and speech by using the words say, name, and word to refer to both spoken and written language. Parents could differentiate writing and drawing by making syntactic and semantic distinctions in their discussion of the two symbol systems. Our results indicate that parent speech includes these types of information. However, young children themselves sometimes confuse writing and drawing in their speech.
Using the self-paced-reading paradigm, the present study examines whether highly proficient second language (L2) speakers of German (English L1) use case-marking information during the on-line comprehension of unambiguous wh-extractions, even when task demands do not draw explicit attention to this morphosyntactic feature in German. Results support previous findings, in that both the native and the L2 German speakers exhibited an immediate subject-preference in the matrix clause, suggesting they were sensitive to case-marking information. However, only among the native speakers did this subject-preference carry over to reading times in the complement clause. The results from the present study are discussed in light of current debates regarding the ability of L2 speakers to attain native-like processing strategies in their L2.
This study explores whether caregivers follow the discourse-pragmatic principle of information status of referents (given vs. new) in their gestures and how children respond to their caregivers' gestures. Chinese and American caregivers were videotaped while interacting spontaneously with their children. Their speech and gestures were coded for referential expressions. Even though Chinese caregivers gestured more often than American caregivers, we found that both groups produced more gestures when asking their children to identify new referents than when asking their children to identify given referents. In addition, both groups of children were sensitive to the gestures accompanying new referents and using these gestures to identify the referents. Thus, we conclude that gesture serves as a potential cue for both caregivers and children to identify referents according to the discourse-pragmatic principle of information status.
This study examined whether late-learning English-German L2 learners and late-learning German-English L2 learners use prosodic cues to disambiguate temporarily ambiguous L1 and L2 sentences during speech production. Experiments 1a and 1b showed that English-German L2 learners and German-English L2 learners used a pitch rise and pitch accent to disambiguate prepositional phrase-attachment sentences in German. However, the same participants, as well as monolingual English speakers, only used pitch accent to disambiguate similar English sentences. Taken together, these results indicate the L2 learners used prosody to disambiguate sentences in both of their languages and did not fully transfer cues to disambiguation from their L1 to their L2. The results have implications for the acquisition of L2 prosody and the interaction between prosody and meaning in L2 production.
Speakers monitor their speech output by listening to their own voice. However, signers do not look directly at their hands and cannot see their own face. We investigated the importance of a visual perceptual loop for sign language monitoring by examining whether changes in visual input alter sign production. Deaf signers produced American Sign Language (ASL) signs within a carrier phrase under five conditions: blindfolded, wearing tunnel-vision goggles, normal (citation) signing, shouting, and informal signing. Three-dimensional movement trajectories were obtained using an Optotrak Certus system. Informally produced signs were shorter with less vertical movement. Shouted signs were displaced forward and to the right and were produced within a larger volume of signing space, with greater velocity, greater distance traveled, and a longer duration. Tunnel vision caused signers to produce less movement within the vertical dimension of signing space, but blind and citation signing did not differ significantly on any measure, except duration. Thus, signers do not "sign louder" when they cannot see themselves, but they do alter their sign production when vision is restricted. We hypothesize that visual feedback serves primarily to fine-tune the size of signing space rather than as input to a comprehension-based monitor.
This study investigated fast mapping in late-talking (LT) toddlers and toddlers with normal language (NL) development matched on age, nonverbal cognition, and maternal education. The fast mapping task included novel object labels and familiar words. The LT group performed significantly worse than the NL group on novel word comprehension and production, as well as familiar word production. For both groups, fast mapping performance was associated with concurrent language ability and later language outcomes. A post hoc analysis of phonotactic probability (PP) and neighborhood density (ND) suggested that the majority of NL toddlers displayed optimal learning of the nonword with low PP/ND. The LT group did not display the same sensitivity to PP/ND characteristics as the NL group.
Explored the mental representations associated with adjectives, with specific attention given to the representation of antonymous and synonymous relations. 36 undergraduates were presented with 2 sequential adjectives. In Exp 1, Ss made relatedness judgments, and in Exp 2 they made antonym and synonym judgments. Conceptual processes were manipulated by varying semantic distance, and associative processes were manipulated by varying lexical markedness. Judgments were fastest for direct antonyms, even when compared with synonyms of similar relatedness. Although judgments for synonyms were faster than for indirect antonyms, semantic distance and markedness had similar effects on these word classes. These results suggest that direct antonymy may use associative connections, but that indirect antonymy, like synonymy, relies primarily on conceptual connections. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Investigated phonological working memory and auditory processing skills in 6 language-disordered children (aged 8–10 yrs) with central auditory processing (CAP) difficulties. Comparisons were made with 2 groups of control children (12 Ss total; aged 7–20 yrs), one group matched on chronological age and nonverbal intelligence and the other matched on language age. The CAP-disordered Ss showed poorer abilities in nonword repetition and word recall and were sensitive to the phonological similarity and word length of the recall lists. However, the CAP-disordered Ss also showed poorer phoneme discrimination skills. These findings may be inconsistent with the notion of 1 central deficit (poor phonological working memory) in CAP-disordered children with a language deficit. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Replicated S. Gathercole and A. Baddeley's (see record
1990-31266-001) study by examining the phonological memory capacity, rate of articulation, phonological encoding, and perceptual-processing abilities of 13 specifically language impaired (SLI) children (mean age 101.1 mo) and 13 younger, language-matched normal (NL) children (mean age 81.3 mo). Results from a nonsense word repetition task showed that SLI Ss repeated significantly fewer multisyllabic nonsense words than NL Ss. Both SLI and NL Ss were found to have comparable articulation rates and showed sensitivity to the phonological similarity effect, indicating that SLI Ss had intact phonological-encoding abilities. Results of a nonsense word discrimination task revealed that SLI Ss had greater difficulty perceptually processing 4-syllable nonsense words. These findings are consistent with Gathercole and Baddeley's claim that SLI children have reduced phonological storage capacity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Compared verbal behavior of inpatients, 11 with schizophrenia and 11 with manic depression and 11 normal controls. Language samples were obtained during Rorschach testing and analyzed using the Thought Disorder Index Scoring Manual (TDI) and a battery of linguistic measures. Linguistic categories examined were productivity, repetition, dysfluency, cohesiveness, and syntactic complexity. On the TDI, schizophrenic Ss had high thought disorder scores. On the linguistic measures, the speech of schizophrenics differed from that of the other groups in productivity and in the number of clearly referenced elements, a measure of cohesion. This measure of cohesion was positively correlated with TDI scores. Findings suggest that it is in the realm of the nature and overall verbosity of discourse rather than grammatical structure that disturbances occur in schizophrenic language. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
When discriminating between unknown foreign languages, infants, young children, and adultlisteners are able to make same-language/different-language discrimination judgments atbetter than chance levels. In these studies (Lorch & Meara, 1989; Mehler et al., 1988;Stockmal, 1995), foreign language samples have often been provided by different talkers,confounding voice characteristics and language characteristics. In Experiments 1 and 2, using thesame talkers for different pairs of languages, we found that listeners were able to discriminatebetween languages they did not know, even when spoken by the same talker. That is, listenerswere able to separate talker from language characteristics. Experiment 3 used multidimensionalscaling to explore the bases of listener judgments. Listeners were attentive to prosodic propertiesand influenced by their familiarity with the test languages.
This study explores the hypothesis that children identified as having phonological processing problems may have particular difficulty in processing a different accent. Children with speech difficulties (n = 18) were compared with matched controls on four measures of auditory processing. First, an accent auditory lexical decision task was administered. In one condition, the children made lexical decisions about stimuli presented in their own accent (London). In the second condition, the stimuli were spoken in an unfamiliar accent (Glaswegian). The results showed that the children with speech difficulties had a specific deficit on the unfamiliar accent. Performance on the other auditory discrimination tasks revealed additional deficits at lower levels of input processing. The wider clinical implications of the findings are considered.
Individual differences in nonword repetition (NWR) show a particularly strong association with vocabulary acquisition for both first- (L1) and second-language (L2) learners, and they serve as a behavioral marker for specific language impairment (SLI) in children (Gathercole, 2006). However, this association is susceptible to alternative explanations.
This study tests the claim that children acquire collections of phonologically similar word forms. namely, dense neighborhoods. Age of acquisition (AoA) norms were obtained front two databases: parent report of infant and toddler production and adult self-ratings of AoA. Neighborhood density, word frequency, word length, Density x Frequency and Density x Length were analyzed as potential predictors of AoA using linear regression. Early acquired words were higher in density, higher in word frequency, and shorter in length than late acquired words. Significant interactions provided evidence that the lexical factors predicting AoA varied. depending on the type of word being learned. The implication of these findings for lexical acquisition and language learning are discussed.
The influence of a talker's face (e.g., articulatory gestures) and voice, vocalic context, and word position were investigated in the training of Japanese and Korean English as a second language learners to identify American English /I/ and /I/. In the pretest-posttest design, an identification paradigm assessed the effects of 3 weeks of training using multiple natural exemplars on videotape. Word position, adjacent vowel, and training type (auditory-visual [AV] vs. auditory only; multiple vs. single talker for Koreans) were independent variables. Findings revealed significant effects of training type (greater improvement with AV), talker, word position, and vowel. Identification accuracy generalized successfully to novel stimuli and a new talker. Transfer to significant production improvement was also noted. These findings are compatible with episodic models for the encoding of speech in memory.
To evaluate the effect of extended adult exposure to authentic spoken English on the perceptual mastery of English /r/ and /l/, we tested 12 native speakers of English (A), 12 experienced Japanese (EJ) who had spent 12 or more years in the United States, and 12 less experienced Japanese (LJ) who had spent less than one year in the United States. The tests included the forced-choice identification of naturally produced /r/s and /1/s and the labeling of word-initial synthetic tokens that varied F2 and F3 to form an /r/-/l/-/w/ continuum. The F.Js’ mean performance in both tasks was closer to that of the As than the LJs, but nonetheless fell short. Extended exposure may improve /r/-/l/ identification accuracy; it does not ensure perfect perceptual mastery.
Deficits in the underlying phonological processes involved in the encoding, storage and retrieval of the phonological segments of language have been hypothesized to result in less-specified or impoverished lexical representations for poor readers (e.g., Elbro, Nielsen, & Petersen, 1994). To explore this issue, the central goal of this study was to examine the quality of the phonological representations of adult poor readers (n = 25) in comparison to two control groups, adult skilled readers (n = 25) and younger reading-age controls (n = 25), through the use of three tasks: confrontation naming, spelling, and pseudoword repetition. A test/retest paradigm was used to assess consistency of naming and spelling performance. The results confirm weakness in phonological representations of words for adult less-skilled readers. On the confrontation naming task, the less-skilled readers were less accurate and made more phonological errors than the other groups. The less-skilled readers also produced less consistent naming responses. On the spelling measure, the less-skilled readers were significantly less accurate than the two control groups, as well as less consistent. Relevant to the study, the spelling accuracy performance of the less-skilled readers was influenced by inaccurate naming significantly more often than for the control groups. Performance on the pseudoword repetition measure further verified the phonological deficits of the less-skilled readers whose performance was significantly below the skilled readers and the reading-age controls. The results of this study indicate that basic deficits in the phonological representations of words are related to reading ability. This finding has implications for educational strategies for the older student, as well as for younger, beginning readers.
This paper examines various rendering techniques and emphasizes the unique contribution that computer technology offers to transcription. First, the basic manual transcription procedure and its grounds are discussed. Next, three methods of generating transcripts are considered separately: (a) completely manual preparation; (b) a combination of manual and computer procedures; and (c) the on-line processing/monitoring by computer. Finally, the relative advantages and limitations of these techniques are discussed in terms of a trade-off between several factors which include initial investment in equipment, person hours, cost of copying and modifying transcripts, and reduction of errors in transcribing data.
In two studies we investigated 2-year-old children's answers to predicate-focus questions depending on the preceding context. Children were presented with a successive series of short video clips showing transitive actions (e.g., frog washing duck) in which either the action (action-new) or the patient (patient-new) was the changing, and therefore new, element. During the last scene the experimenter asked the question (e.g., “What's the frog doing now?”). We found that children expressed the action and the patient in the patient-new condition but expressed only the action in the action-new condition. These results show that children are sensitive to both the predicate-focus question and newness in context. A further finding was that children expressed new patients in their answers more often when there was a verbal context prior to the questions than when there was not.
Language deficits occur in a variety of developmental disorders including autism spectrum disorders. Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, specific language impairment, and Williams syndrome. This paper describes the specific pattern of linguistic deficits in each of these disorders in terms of speech production, semantic, and syntactic abilities as well as the relationship between cognitive and linguistic skills and the presence of a deviant or delayed pattern of development. In the spirit of synthesis across diverse literatures, preliminary comparisons among the language profiles of these disorders are made. The full picture, however. is incomplete given the current state of the literature. which tends to focus on the analysis of a narrow range of linguistic phenomena within a single disorder. The field is in need of research that systematically compares these disorders and leads to detailed descriptions of linguistic phenotypes of each disorder.
A recent large-scale study identified a subgroup of children with autism who had a language profile similar to that found among children with specific language impairment (SLI). including difficulties with nonsense word repetition, an ability that has been implicated as one clinical marker for SLI. A second clinical marker for English-speaking children with SLI is high rates of omission of grammatical morphemes that mark tense in obligatory contexts. This study used experimental probes designed to elicit third person and past tense morphology with a large heterogeneous sample of children with autism. The subgroup of children with autism who were language impaired showed high rates of omission of tense marking on the experimental tasks. in addition, some of the children with autism made performance errors that were specific to the autistic population, such as echolalia. These findings further refine the characteristics of language impairment found in a subgroup of children with autism.
Choosing appropriate referring expressions requires assessing whether a referent is “available” to the
addressee either perceptually or through discourse. In Study 1, we found that 3- and 4-year-olds,
but not 2-year-olds, chose different referring expressions (noun vs. pronoun) depending on whether
their addressee could see the intended referent or not. In Study 2, in more neutral discourse contexts
than previous studies, we found that 3- and 4-year-olds clearly differed in their use of referring
expressions according to whether their addressee had already mentioned a referent. Moreover, 2-yearolds
responded with more naming constructions when the referent had not been mentioned previously.
This suggests that, despite early social–cognitive developments, (a) it takes time tomaster the given/new
contrast linguistically, and (b) children understand the contrast earlier based on discourse, rather than
This study explores adults' attitudes toward children with limited linguistic competency. Four groups of adult judges participated in this study: kindergarten teachers, women matched for age and education level with the teachers, undergraduate college students, and speech-language pathologists. The judges listened to audiotaped samples of preschool children's speech. Two triads of children were formed, matched for age, gender, and intelligence, but differing in communication abilities. The adults responded to questionnaire items addressing child attributes (e.g., intelligence, social maturity) and parental attributes (e.g., education level, SES). Systematic biases were revealed toward children with limited communication abilities. The biases are interpreted as reflective of adults' expectations for children's language. It is argued that adults call upon a correlative causal model of language acquisition to interpret individual differences in children's language abilities. Negative social and academic consequences of such misinterpretations are discussed.
Longitudinal case studies of the successive phonological acquisition of two Cantonese-English bilingual children, aged 2;3 to 3;1 years and 2;9 to 3;5 years, are presented. The children were assessed at 4-week intervals. The first assessment of their phonology occurred when they had been exposed to English for three months. Phoneme acquisition and phonological process data revealed that both children had separate phonological systems for the two languages. The two phonological systems for each child developed in similar ways to monolingual children acquiring Cantonese and English. However, a number of error patterns, indicative of disorder in monolingual children, were evident in the children's phonological systems in English and in Cantonese. These patterns have been documented as normal error patterns for successive bilingual Cantonese-English speaking children. The difference between normal successive bilingual phonological development and normal monolingual development is addressed.
Children raised in the home as English or Welsh monolinguals or English–Welsh bilinguals were tested on untrained word form recognition using both behavioral and neurophysiological procedures. Behavioral measures confirmed the onset of a familiarity effect at 11 months in English but failed to identify it in monolingual Welsh infants between 9 and 12 months. In the neurophysiological
procedure the familiarity effect was detected as early as 10 months in English but did not reach significance in monolingual Welsh. Bilingual children showed word form familiarity effects by 11 months in both languages and also revealed an online time course for word recognition that
combined effects found for monolingual English and Welsh. To account for the findings, accentual, grammatical, and sociolinguistic differences between English and Welsh are considered.
Code-switching between Papiamento and Dutch was studied in bilingual parent–child reading sessions in Antillian migrant families (who were to some extent bilingual in Papiamento and Dutch) in the Netherlands. Mothers were asked to read three picture books to their child: one in Dutch, one in Papiamento, and one without text. The code-switching in the data is studied from three perspectives: its relation to bilingual competence, its structural properties, and the implications for language change through lexical borrowing. Our data confirmed the results of earlier studies, which found that intimate code-switching within the clause is characteristic of fluent bilinguals. In our study, this held in particular for knowledge of Papiamento. Structurally, the type of code-switching encountered was predominantly insertional (with Papiamento as the dominant language), thus conforming to the constraints proposed for this type of switching. The single Dutch words that were frequently inserted into Papiamento utterances by the mothers could easily be interpreted by the child as Papiarnento and are likely to become borrowings in the next generation. We conclude with some remarks about the functions of code-switching in our data.
This study examined the spoken English development of a hearing child of deaf parents who used American Sign Language (ASL). The child first learned ASL in interactions with his parents and later developed spoken English outside the home environment. It was hypothesized that the child's acquisition of spoken English would systematically reflect both expected monolingual developmental patterns and interlinguistic transfer. Four areas of mismatch between ASL and spoken English were identified. Language sample data from ages 2;9-5;2 were examined for evidence to evaluate the hypotheses. Features that reflected the simultaneous versus sequential mismatch between ASL and English, undifferentiated versus differentiated aspects, free versus bound morpheme mechanisms, and word-order differences provided evidence of ASL influence on spoken English acquisition. Although not extensive, ASL appears to have exerted consistent influence on several areas of the child's spoken English development.
Although input quantity has been shown to affect language development in bilingual acquisition (e.g., Cobo-Lewis et al. 2002, De Houwer 2008), the relationship between the amount of input and linguistic proficiency is not necessarily direct (e.g., Thordadottir 2008). Furthermore, input effects may be mediated by and interact with other factors. One such factor is age of onset (AO). In particular, it has recently been claimed that the morphosyntactic development of children with AO after 4 years is quantitatively and qualitatively different from those with AO before this age (Meisel 2009). This paper reports on a crosslinguistic study of the acquisition of grammatical gender in English/Dutch and English/Greek bilinguals to examine the effects of input quantity and AO in early child bilingualism.
In her very interesting Keynote Article, Johanne Paradis gives a clear overview of recent research at the interface of bilingual development and child language disorders, and highlights its theoretical and clinical implications. She raises the challenging question of “whether bilingualism can be viewed as a kind of ‘therapy’ for SLI.” At first sight, this is perhaps a surprising question, because one of the predominant views in the literature is that bilingual children with specific language impairment (SLI) will exhibit difficulties and perhaps a “double delay.” It is this challenging question that we consider in more detail here.
In this study, Spanish-English bilinguals and English monolinguals used brief English contexts to choose among possible meanings for unfamiliar words. Two types of errors were compared: transfer errors, which were answers consistent with Spanish, but not English, syntax, and nontransfer errors, which were inconsistent with the syntax of both languages. Nontransfer errors were found to be negatively correlated with reading proficiency in both Spanish and English. Transfer errors, on the other hand, were positively correlated with reading proficiency in Spanish and were unrelated to reading proficiency in English. First language syntactic knowledge was thus found to influence guesses about the meanings of unfamiliar words in a second language context. This effect was found among bilinguals who had experienced a variety of amounts and types of exposure to English.