The Influence of Prosodic and Gestural Cues on Novel Word Acquisition by Children With Specific Language Impairment The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of prosodic and gestural cues on children’s lexical learning. Acquisition of novel words was examined under linguistic input conditions that varied in terms of rate of speech, stress, and use of supplemental visual cues i.e., gestures). Sixteen kindergarten children served ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1993
The Influence of Prosodic and Gestural Cues on Novel Word Acquisition by Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Ellis Weismer
    Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development and Department of Communicative Disorders University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Linda J. Hesketh
    Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development and Department of Communicative Disorders University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Contact author: Susan Ellis Weismer, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Waisman Center Room 473,1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705-2280. E-mail: SWEISMER@vms.macc.wisc.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1993
The Influence of Prosodic and Gestural Cues on Novel Word Acquisition by Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1993, Vol. 36, 1013-1025. doi:10.1044/jshr.3605.1013
History: Received July 29, 1992 , Accepted April 23, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1993, Vol. 36, 1013-1025. doi:10.1044/jshr.3605.1013
History: Received July 29, 1992; Accepted April 23, 1993

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of prosodic and gestural cues on children’s lexical learning. Acquisition of novel words was examined under linguistic input conditions that varied in terms of rate of speech, stress, and use of supplemental visual cues i.e., gestures). Sixteen kindergarten children served as subjects in this study, including 8 children with normal language (NL) and 8 children with specific language impairment (SLI). A repeated-measures design was used such that all subjects in both groups participated in each of the three experimental conditions (the Rate, Stress, and Visual Condition). Results indicated that acquisition of novel words by the groups with NL and SLI was significantly affected by alterations in speaking rate and by the use of gestures accompanying spoken language. There were no statistically significant effects for the stress manipulations, although subjects with SLI tended to correctly produce novel words that had received emphatic stress during training more often than words presented with neutral stress. Implications of these findings are discussed with respect to the importance of considering how the manner of presentation of the linguistic signal influences the processing and acquisition of language.

Acknowledgments
We want to thank the administrators, teachers, clinicians, and children in the Madison Metropolitan Schools for their participation in this project. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Karen Digney, Wendy Krueger, and Christine Ricke who assisted with the development of stimuli, transcription of language samples, and reliability judgments. These individuals were coauthors on a paper based on a preliminary report of this research that was presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Seattle, 1990. Special thanks to Gary Weismer for his assistance with acoustical analyses of the stimuli. Funding to conduct this research was provided by a Graduate School Grant (#900168) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and by a FIRST Award from the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH grant #1R29DC011-01), both awarded to the first author.
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