TITLE

Effects of Acoustic Manipulation on the Real-Time Inflectional Processing of Children With Specific Language Impairment

AUTHOR(S)
Montgomery, James W.; Leonard, Laurence B.
PUB. DATE
December 2006
SOURCE
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Dec2006, Vol. 49 Issue 6, p1238
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Purpose: This study reports the findings of an investigation designed to examine the effects of acoustic enhancement on the processing of low-phonetic-substance inflections (e.g., 3rd-person singular -s, possessive -s) versus a high-phoneticsubstance inflection (e.g., present progressive -ing) by children with specific language impairment (SLI) in a word recognition, reaction time (RT) processing task. The effects of acoustic enhancement on the processing of the same morphemes as well as an additional morpheme (comparative -er ) were examined in an offline grammaticality judgment task. The grammatical function of 1 of the higher-phonetic-substance inflections, -ing, was presumed to be hypothesized relatively early by children; the function of the other, -er, was presumed to be hypothesized relatively late. Method: Sixteen children with SLI (ageM = 9 years;0 months) and 16 chronological age (CA; ageM = 8;11) children participated. For both tasks, children listened to sentences containing the target morphemes as they were produced naturally (natural condition) or with acoustic enhancement (enhanced condition). Results: On the RT task, the children with SLI demonstrated RT sensitivity only to the presence of the high-substance inflection, irrespective of whether it was produced naturally or with enhancement. Acoustic enhancement had no effect on these children's processing of low-substance inflections. The CA children, by contrast, showed sensitivity to low-substance inflections when they were produced naturally and with acoustic enhancement. These children also showed sensitivity to the high-substance inflection in the natural condition, but in the enhanced condition they demonstrated significantly slower RT. On the grammaticality judgment task, the children with SLI performed worse than the CA children overall and showed especially poor performance on low-substance inflections. Acoustic enhancement had a beneficial effect on the inflectional processing of the children with SLI, but it had no effect on CA children. Conclusion: The findings are interpreted to suggest that the reduced language processing capacity of children with SLI constrains their ability to process low-substance grammatical material in real time. This factor should be considered along with any difficulty that might be attributable to the grammatical function of the inflection.
ACCESSION #
23608260

 

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