Learning novel words: Detail and vulnerability of initial representations for children with specific language impairment and typically developing peers

Mary Alt, Rachael Suddarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the phonological representations that children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing peers (TD) have during the initial process of word learning. The goals of this study were to determine if children with SLI attended to different components of words than peers, and whether they were more vulnerable to interference than peers. Forty 7- and 8-year-old children, half with SLI, took part in a fast mapping, word learning task. In addition to producing the word, there was a mispronunciation detection task that included mispronunciations of the target word in the initial position, final position or that modified the word's syllable structure. Children with SLI showed a different learning profile than peers, demonstrating stronger representations of the word-initial phonemes, but less information about word-final phonemes. They were more prone to interference overall, but especially from word-final foils. Children with SLI did not demonstrate less-defined phonological representations, but did attend to different features than TD children, perhaps in an attempt to compensate for problems learning longer words. The greatest weakness of children with SLI appears to be their susceptibility to interference, particularly for word-final information.Learning outcomes: Readers will be able to: (1) explain what children attend to when learning new words; (2) state the pattern of recognition and production performance for both children with SLI and their typical language peers; and (3) identify specific parts of novel words that are most susceptible to interference in children with SLI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-97
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

Keywords

  • Children
  • Interference
  • Phonological
  • Specific language impairment
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN

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