Direct Object Pronoun Sentence Processing in Spanish-English Children with/without Specific Language Impairment and Adults: A Cross-modal Priming Study
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TitleDirect Object Pronoun Sentence Processing in Spanish-English Children with/without Specific Language Impairment and Adults: A Cross-modal Priming Study
Purpose This paper examines whether bilingual children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) showed limited comprehension of Direct Object (DO) pronoun sentences and/or morphosyntactic priming compared to children ... [+]
Purpose This paper examines whether bilingual children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) showed limited comprehension of Direct Object (DO) pronoun sentences and/or morphosyntactic priming compared to children with Typical Language Development (TLD) and adults. We analyzed the relation of these morphosyntactic processes to other psycholinguistic abilities, according to the MUC (Memory-Unification-Control) model. Method Ten bilingual native Spanish-speaking children with SLI (8;3–10;6) and 10 age-matched children with TLD (7;6–10;10) received a psycholinguistic evaluation in Spanish-English. The 20 children and 10 adults (19–34) performed an on-line cross-modal pronoun task. They listened to long distance animate DO pronoun sentences, and filler sentences without any pronoun. At the offset of the pronoun in each pronoun sentence, a picture of an animal for the antecedent (match condition), another animal for the second noun (mismatch), or an unrelated object (neutral) was displayed on the screen. In the filler sentences, a picture of an object that depicted the first noun, appeared at the offset of another later noun. Participants decided whether that pictured item was “alive”/“not alive” by pressing two keys on the computer keyboard. Immediately after, they answered an oral comprehension question about the DO pronoun sentence. Results Bilingual children with SLI showed significantly poorer comprehension of DO pronoun sentences than bilingual children with TLD. Pronoun sentence understanding in the overall children correlated significantly with oral sentence completion, expressive vocabulary abilities, auditory story comprehension, and the non-word repetition task, all in Spanish. Adults showed significantly the highest pronoun sentence comprehension, and the fastest animacy decisions across conditions; it was the only group showing a significant behavioral morphosyntactic priming effect. All groups exhibited high accuracy in the animacy decisions across conditions, although children with SLI showed lower accuracy and more variability. Conclusion Bilingual Spanish-English children with SLI showed significant limitations in understanding long distance animate DO pronoun sentences. The deficits were also related to weak morphosyntactic, lexical, and/or phonological representations stored in their memory. These processes may be harder to combine in the unification process, and also to control for answering the comprehension questions. Clinical and educational implications are discussed [-]
Investigation projectMinisterio de Educación y Ciencia, Spain (SAB2003-0310 to Richard G. Schwartz and PR2003-0061 to Dolors Girbau) ; Universitat Jaume I/Bancaixa (P1·1B2007-33) ; National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (5R01DC003885)
Bibliographic citationGIRBAU, Dolors. Direct object pronoun sentence processing in Spanish-English children with/without Specific Language Impairment and adults: A cross-modal priming study. Journal of communication disorders, 2018, 72: 97-110.
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