Frequency of Input Effects on Word Comprehension of Children With Specific Language Impairment Children with specific language impairment (SLI) are known to have limited lexicons. Previous studies implicate a possible processing problem, in the form of a limited ability to comprehend new words in settings that require Quick Incidental Learning (QUIL). This study investigates further the factors contributing to limited QUIL by examining ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1994
Frequency of Input Effects on Word Comprehension of Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Janna B. Oetting
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Janet Marquis
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • John Bode
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Soyeong Pae
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Contact author: Mabel L. Rice, PhD, The University of Kansas, Child Language Program, 1082 Robert Dole Human Development Center, Lawrence, KS 66045.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1994
Frequency of Input Effects on Word Comprehension of Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 106-122. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.106
History: Received September 10, 1992 , Accepted August 10, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 106-122. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.106
History: Received September 10, 1992; Accepted August 10, 1993

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) are known to have limited lexicons. Previous studies implicate a possible processing problem, in the form of a limited ability to comprehend new words in settings that require Quick Incidental Learning (QUIL). This study investigates further the factors contributing to limited QUIL by examining the effects of input frequency and word type (nouns vs. verbs). In addition, immediate versus long-term memory was examined for possible problems with storage mechanisms. Subjects were 30 5-year-old SLI children with receptive and expressive language deficits and two comparison groups of normally developing children: 30 MLU-equivalent and 30 CA-equivalent. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions in which they viewed video story presentations in which targeted words were embedded. The conditions varied by number of word presentations, 0, 3, or 10. The 0 condition was a control condition in which familiar words were presented. Children’s word comprehension was tested immediately following viewing and again several days later. The findings confirm a strong frequency effect, but one that is influenced by group status, word type, and retention demands. There is evidence of a robust representational mapping ability for SLI, which is at the same time modulated by a minimum input constraint and apparent problems with storage into long-term memory.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by National Institute of Deafness and Communicative Disorder Award 1R01 NS26129 to Mabel L. Rice. Our special appreciation is expressed to the children who participated in this study, their parents who provided permission, and the day care centers and preschools that supported this research. In Lawrence, Kansas, they are Children’s Learning Center, Edna A. Hill Child Development Center, Hilltop Child Development Center, Kindercare, Language Acquisition Preschool, La Petite, Lawrence Public Schools, Stepping Stones, United Child Development Center; in Hutchinson, Kansas, the Early Education Center and Head Start; in Kansas City, the Shawnee Mission Public Schools and St. Luke’s Developmental Preschool; in Ottawa, Kansas, the Headstart Program; in Augustana, Illinois, the Summer Speech Language Hearing Clinic; and the public schools of Baldwin, Wellsville, Eudora, and Ottawa, Kansas.
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