Maria Teresa Guasti

Maria Teresa Guasti
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca | UNIMIB · Department of Psychology

PH.H Linguistics

About

153
Publications
64,416
Reads
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3,498
Citations
Citations since 2017
55 Research Items
1626 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
Introduction
I am working on the relation between language and music in participants with reading or language disorders, seeking to establish whether rhythm can improve performance and more generally which is the key of this possible effect. I am also working on Leibniz's dream: child languages as a mirror of the human mind, a ERC Synergy project funded by the European Commission.
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - present
International Centre for Child Health, Haidan district, Beijin
Position
  • Professor
September 2012 - present
School of Special Education, Haidan District, Beijin
Position
  • Foreign expert
August 2012 - present
Macquarie University
Position
  • Associate investigator ARC

Publications

Publications (153)
Article
Full-text available
Due to the difficulties in differentiating bilingual children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) from bilingual children with temporary language difficulties that may be caused by heterogeneous language input, language assessments of bilingual children are challenging for clinicians. Research demonstrates that assessments of bilingual child...
Article
Whilst the vast majority of the Maldivian population speak Dhivehi at home, English typically serves as the only medium of instruction (MoI) starting from primary school. Teachers have expressed their concerns regarding educational quality, as many children are taught in a language they do not master sufficiently. The present study aimed to investi...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the linguistic processing and non-linguistic cognitive abilities of monolingual and bilingual children with and without reading difficulties and examines the relationship between these skills and reading. There were 72 Italian-speaking children: 18 monolingual good readers (MONO-GR, Mage = 10;4), 19 monolingual poor readers...
Preprint
Full-text available
The increasing number of primary students with different degrees of exposure to a family minority language requires a reflection on whether and how specific aspects of their daily language experience influence their learning skills. Indeed, Minority Language Children (MLC) often report difficulties in fluent and accurate reading that must be better...
Preprint
It is well-recognized that individuals with dyslexia may exhibit a broad range of deficits that go beyond reading itself. One line of research has uncovered impairments in the production and processing of rhythm in individuals with dyslexia. There is also a growing body of evidence that individual differences in rhythmic skills explain variability...
Preprint
The study aims to investigate the performance of monolingual and bilingual children with and without reading difficulties on language-dependent and language-independent tasks, and examine the relationship between the performance on these tasks and reading. There were 72 Italian-speaking children: 18 monolingual good readers (MONO-GR, Mage = 10;4),...
Article
Full-text available
This study attempted to bring together the investigation of reading and writing, which have been traditionally considered separately. In particular, our cross-sectional study aimed at outlining the developmental trajectory of reading abilities and handwriting kinematic aspects of children in their first years of school. We collected reading, phonol...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is considered a universal marker of developmental dyslexia (DD) and could also be helpful to identify a reading deficit in minority-language children (MLC), in which it may be hard to disentangle whether the reading difficulties are due to a learning disorder or a lower proficiency in the language of instruction. We t...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this study, we validated the “ReadFree tool”: a computerized battery of 12 hierarchically organized tasks in the visual and auditory modalities, which do not imply reading. The tool has been developed to identify poor readers irrespective of their specific language background, thus, to be also suitable for Minority-Language Children (MLC).Each t...
Article
Full-text available
Ideally, language and reading skills in bilingual children are assessed in both languages spoken in order to avoid misdiagnoses of communication or learning disorders. Due to limited capacity of clinical and educational staff, computerized screenings that allow for automatic evaluation of the children’s performance on reading tasks (accuracy and sp...
Article
Full-text available
We present cross-sectional research to verify whether learning to read in Italian (the participants’ mother language and majority language) is delayed when simultaneously learning to read in English (a second language not spoken in the country). Available evidence considering the specific combination of bilingual orthographies being acquired sugges...
Article
In English, a sentence like “The cat didn’t eat the carrot or the pepper” typically receives a “neither” interpretation; in Japanese it receives a “not this or not that” interpretation. These two interpretations are in a subset/superset relation, such that the “neither” interpretation (strong reading) asymmetrically entails the “not this or not tha...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is frequent in childhood and may have long-term sequelae. By employing an evidence-based approach, this scoping review aims at identifying (a) early predictors of DLD; (b) the optimal age range for the use of screening and diagnostic tools; (c) effective diagnostic tools in preschool children. Met...
Article
Full-text available
Reduced forms such as the pronoun he provide little information about their intended meaning compared to more elaborate descriptions such as the lead singer of Coldplay. Listeners must therefore use contextual information to recover their meaning. Across languages, there appears to be a trade-off between the informativity of a form and the prominen...
Article
The present study investigates third language (L3) learners’ processing of Chinese subject and object relative clauses in a supportive context. Using a self-paced reading task, we tested native Italian L3 learners of Mandarin Chinese and native Chinese speakers. The results showed that the L3 learners read significantly more slowly than the native...
Article
In English, the sentence Mary didn’t eat pizza or sushi is assigned the neither interpretation (both disjuncts must be false). In Mandarin Chinese, the equivalent sentence is assigned the at least one interpretation (at least one disjunct must be false). The cross-linguistic variation in the interpretation of negative sentences with disjunction has...
Article
Full-text available
Major concerns still surround literacy education in a foreign language during primary school. In this study, we aim to establish (1) whether bilinguals perform worse in Italian literacy tests than monolinguals; (2) whether literacy skills transfer from Italian to English. We tested 97 Italian–English bilingual first, third and fifth graders (attend...
Article
Full-text available
Developmental Dyslexia (DD) is a learning disorder characterized by specific difficulties in learning to read accurately and fluently, which has been generally explained in terms of phonological deficits. Recent research has shown that individuals with DD experience timing difficulties in the domains of language, music perception and motor control,...
Article
Full-text available
A large number of children worldwide are only exposed to their L2 around 3 years of age and can exhibit linguistic behaviours that resemble those of a child with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). This can lead to under- or over-identification of DLD in this population. This study endeavors to contribute to overcoming this problem, by determini...
Article
Previous research has shown that the production of third-person singular accusative object clitics (3DO clitics) might be taxing in Italian-speaking pre-school children with cochlear implants (CIs). We investigated this topic by assessing 3DO clitic production in 14 children with an average age of 8 years, who had received CI between age 1 and 4. T...
Article
Full-text available
The acquisition of languages by children using two languages is a matter of debate as many factors contribute to the success of this type of acquisition. We focus on how the competence of dual-language children changes in their two languages as a function of length of exposure and establish whether there are reciprocal influences during language de...
Article
Previous research has shown that the production of third-person singular accusative object clitics (3DO clitics) might be taxing in Italian-speaking preschool children with cochlear implants (CIs). We investigated this topic by assessing 3DO clitic production in 14 children with an average age of 8 years, who had received a CI between age 1 and 4....
Article
In this commentary on the Special Issue, I will address the question of what memory spans measure concerning language, as language has, at least, a linear and a hierarchical dimension. I suggest that if anything what is measured has to do with the linear dimension. Then, I will discuss the welcome results on bilingual children with language problem...
Article
Full-text available
Agreement is a morphosyntactic dependency which is sensitive to the hierarchical structure of the clause and is constrained by the structural distance that separates the elements involved in this relation. In this paper we present two experiments, providing new evidence that Italian-speaking children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), as w...
Article
Full-text available
Full text: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/GGJBn42Kd8ensTrJKJ4f/full?target=10.1080/0163853X.2019.1591127 Different words generally have different meanings. However, some words seemingly share similar meanings. An example are null and overt pronouns in Italian, which both refer to an individual in the discourse. Is the interpretation and proces...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely believed that intensive music training can boost cognitive and visuo-motor skills. However, this evidence is primarily based on retrospective studies; this makes it difficult to determine whether a cognitive advantage is caused by the intensive music training, or it is instead a factor influencing the choice of starting a music curricu...
Book
Questo libro contiene la descrizione di giochi con parole e frasi che hanno lo scopo di promuovere l’acquisizione del linguaggio in contesti educativi e clinici. I giochi qui riportati sono stati inventati e utilizzati nel corso degli anni dalle autrici per svolgere le loro ricerche con i bambini, e hanno permesso di ricavare molte informazioni cir...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents a web-based sentence comprehension test aimed at identifying high school students who are at risk for a language delay. By assessing linguistic skills on a sample of high school students with Italian as an L2 and their monolingual peers, attending a vocational school, we were able to identify a subgroup of L2 students with consi...
Article
Full-text available
http://www.meits.org/policy-papers/paper/is-it-possible-to-differentiate-multilingual-children-and-children-with-dld
Article
Full-text available
There is a debate as to whether topic structures in Chinese involve A’-movement or result from base-generation of the topic in the left periphery. If Chinese topicalization was derived by movement, under the assumptions of Friedmann et al.’s Relativized Minimality (Lingua 119:67–88, 2009), we would expect children’s comprehension of object topicali...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates the interpretation that Italian-speaking children and adults assign to negative sentences with disjunction and negative sentences with conjunction. The aim of the study was to determine whether children and adults assign the same interpretation to these types of sentences. The Semantic Subset Principle (SSP) (Crain et al., i...
Chapter
The performance of 122 children on syntactic awareness of clitics and articles in French was examined. Three clinical groups (21 children with ASD, 22 children with SLI, 23 children with DD) and a group of 56 younger children with TD were studied. On the article task, children with ASD obtained lower scores than all the other groups and on the clit...
Article
We aim at determining whether 7-year-old Italian-speaking children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI): (1) have problems with the production of wh- questions; (2) display a subject/object asymmetry in producing which- and who questions; (3) attempt to simplify questions, especially which- questions; (4) have difficulties with movement and verb...
Article
Full-text available
This paper is the first investigation of relative clauses (RCs) in Wenzhounese (a variety of Wu spoken in Southern Zhejiang province, China). We provide a raising analysis of Wenzhounese RCs and discuss two main families of hypotheses for the subject preference observed in postnominal RCs, namely the linear intervention hypothesis and the hierarchi...
Article
Full-text available
Subject and object relative clauses have been studied from the point of view of language acquisition and adult sentence processing. In the adult sentence processing literature, subject relative clauses (RCs) are read faster than object RCs (e.g., Frauenfelder et al. 1980 for French; King and Kutas 1995 for English; Schriefers et al. 1995 for Dutch)...
Article
Full-text available
A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.
Article
Full-text available
The handwriting of Italian children follows two rhythmic principles: isochrony and homothety. Unlike oral rhythm, which varies across languages, the rhythm of handwriting remains consistent.
Chapter
Full-text available
The dysgraphic disorder is usually underestimated and belatedly diagnosed. The need of prevention and early intervention focused on prewriting exercises emerges from the literature. We explore exergames to supply this need, together with an adequate assessment module of the training results. The exergames were designed in collaboration with clinici...
Article
Full-text available
Although much research has been concerned with the development of kinematic aspects of handwriting, little is known about the development along with age of two principles that govern its rhythmic organization: Homothety and Isochrony. Homothety states that the ratio between the durations of the single motor events composing a motor act remains inva...
Article
Full-text available
The study investigates the comprehension of Mandarin and Italian relative clauses in sequential Mandarin–Italian bilingual children aged 6–9 and their age-matched monolingual counterparts. We tested 153 children through character-sentence matching tasks. The results showed that bilingual children comprehended subject relatives much better than obje...
Article
Full-text available
Two omission phenomena in a variety of child languages are discussed: omission of articles and third person direct object clitic pronouns. I show that omission is not a unitary phenomenon across child languages. Omission of articles is observed in production from age 2;0 through about age 3;0, in spite of the fact that around 11 months infants are...
Article
Specific language impairment (SLI) is a heterogeneous disorder affecting various aspects of language. While most studies have investigated impairments in the domain of syntax and morphosyntax, little is known about compositional semantics and the process of deriving pragmatic meanings in SLI. We selected a group of sixteen monolingual Italian-speak...
Article
Full-text available
Children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and children with Developmental Dyslexia (DD) have problems comprehending relative clauses (RCs) and find object RCs more difficult than subject RCs, as do typically developing children. Few studies have compared these groups directly, leaving it unclear whether the problems observed in children with...
Conference Paper
Intervention effects arise in object relative clauses (RCs) when both the object and the subject share a (lexical) NP feature, but can be modulated by a featural mismatch between the two DPs (Friedmann et al., 2009, Adani et al., 2010, Belletti et al., 2012). Featural mismatch has a selective impact cross-linguistically, depending on whether or not...
Poster
Full-text available
The present work investigates the interpretation of negative sentences with disjunction and negative sentences with conjunction by Italian-speaking children and adults. The main purpose is to determine whether children and adults assign the same interpretations to these types of sentences. The Semantic Subset Principle (SSP) (Crain, Ni & Conway, 19...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Although much research has been devoted to the acquisition of number words, relatively little is known about the acquisition of other expressions of quantity. We propose that the order of acquisition of quantifiers is related to features inherent to the meaning of each term. Four specific dimensions of the meaning and use of quantifier...
Article
Third-person direct object (DO) clitic pronoun production is examined through an elicited production method in pre-school- and primary school-aged groups of Italian children with specific language impairment (SLI) to establish whether there is an improvement from age 5 years to age 7 years and whether there are qualitative differences in the two gr...
Poster
Full-text available
In the present work, we argue that the mechanism at the basis of sensory temporal prediction may be compromised in children and adults with Developmental Dyslexia (DD). A breakdown of this mechanism may be the cause of reading impairments in individuals with DD as well as of subtle language (e.g., Cantiani et al., 2013, 2015; Rispens et al., 2006)...
Article
The study investigated morphosyntactic abilities and semantic-pragmatic competence in 24 children with developmental dyslexia aged 7 -12 years. Morphosyntactic abilities were investgated in a direct object clitic production task, semantic-pragmatic competence in a quantifier comprehension task. Children with dyslexia produced fewer clitics than the...
Article
Full-text available
The comprehension of constituent questions is an important topic for language acquisition research and for applications in the diagnosis of language impairment. This article presents the results of a study investigating the comprehension of different types of questions by 5-year-old, typically developing children across 19 European countries, 18 di...
Article
This study aimed to characterize neuropsychological and linguistic skills in children with Developmental Dyslexia (DD) with and without Language Impairment (LI). Behavioral tests of short-term memory, phonemic awareness, and morphosyntactic processing and electrophysiological responses to agreement violations were administered to 32 DD children (16...
Book
Full-text available
A major contribution to the study of language acquisition and language development inspired by theoretical linguistics has been made by research on the acquisition of Italian syntax. This book offers an updated overview of results from theory-driven experimental and corpus-based research on the acquisition of Italian in different modes (monolingual...
Article
This study investigated the effect of morphological case and number marking on the comprehension of relative clauses by Greek children with Specific Language Impairment and Language Age controls. An agent selection task and experimental materials consisting of 12 subject and 12 object relative clauses were employed. There were two experimental cond...
Article
Full-text available
This study develops a single elicitation method to test the acquisition of third-person pronominal objects in 5-year-olds for 16 languages. This methodology allows us to compare the acquisition of pronominals in languages that lack object clitics (“pronoun languages”) with languages that employ clitics in the relevant context (“clitic languages”),...
Article
This study examines the comprehension of relative clauses by Chinese-speaking children, and evaluates the validity of the predictions of the Dependency Locality Theory (Gibson, 1998, 2000) and the Relativized Minimality approach (Friedmann, Belletti & Rizzi, 2009). One hundred and twenty children from three to eight years of age were tested by usin...
Article
We explored the acquisition of relative clauses in Mandarin Chinese, a subject–verb–object language with head-final relatives. One hundred and twenty-five children (aged 3 years to 8 years, 11 months) and 20 adults participated in an elicitation task. The results revealed a subject advantage at all ages and a large production of relative clauses wi...
Article
Full-text available
It remains controversial whether children are able to process and integrate specific linguistic cues in their mental model to the same extent as adults. In the present study, a sentence continuation task was employed to determine how Italian speakers (4-, 5-, 6-year-olds and adults) interpret prosodic cues to decide which referent is more salient i...
Article
Full-text available
Early second language (EL2) learners generally perform more poorly than monolinguals in specific language domains, presenting similarities with children affected by specific language impairment (SLI). As a consequence, it can be difficult to correctly diagnose this disorder in EL2 children. The current study investigated the performance of 120 EL2...
Chapter
While language skills are generally not assessed in children with Developmental Dyslexia (DD), it is known that 50% of them manifests some of the symptoms that we find in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). This is confirmed in this study for Italian: 50% of the children with DD scores 1.5 SD below the mean of their peers with typical...
Article
Previous studies have found that the early fitting of cochlear implants in children has beneficial effects on their expressive and receptive language. However, different ages are identified in different studies, and some studies present contradictory results. Starting from these observations, our study suggests that at least two additional factors...
Article
Abstract We administrated a clitic elicitation task to 16 school-aged Italian speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) in order to investigated whether the failure to produce third person direct object clitics (DO clitics) is a persistent clinical marker of SLI in Italian; we examined whether this failure also extends to reflexive...
Article
Full-text available
ABSTRACT In two sentence repetition experiments, we investigated whether four- and five-year-olds master distinct representations for intransitive verb classes by testing two syntactic analyses of unaccusatives (Burzio, 1986; Belletti, 1988). Under the assumption that, with unaccusatives, the partitive case of the postverbal argument is realized on...