Lexical Learning by Children With Specific Language Impairment: Effects of Linguistic Input Presented at Varying Speaking Rates The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of speaking rate variations in the linguistic input provided to children during a novel word learning task. Thirty-two school-age children participated in this investigation, including 16 children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 16 normal language (NL) controls matched on ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1996
Lexical Learning by Children With Specific Language Impairment: Effects of Linguistic Input Presented at Varying Speaking Rates
 
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-Madison, Waisman Center Room 473, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, Wl 53705–2280. E-mail: SWEISMER@vms.macc.wisc.edu
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1996
Lexical Learning by Children With Specific Language Impairment: Effects of Linguistic Input Presented at Varying Speaking Rates
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1996, Vol. 39, 177-190. doi:10.1044/jshr.3901.177
History: Received November 15, 1994 , Accepted May 15, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1996, Vol. 39, 177-190. doi:10.1044/jshr.3901.177
History: Received November 15, 1994; Accepted May 15, 1995

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of speaking rate variations in the linguistic input provided to children during a novel word learning task. Thirty-two school-age children participated in this investigation, including 16 children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 16 normal language (NL) controls matched on mental age (MA). The younger half of the NL group also served as a vocabulary level comparison for the older half of the children with SLI. No significant rate effects were found for comprehension of novel words, with all children performing at relatively high levels of accuracy. The group with SLI demonstrated the same recognition accuracy pattern as MA matched controls for target labels versus phonetically similar/dissimilar foils only for words trained at slow rate. Rate effects were most pronounced for items with the highest difficulty level, namely production of novel words. Children with SLI produced significantly fewer words that had been presented at fast rate during training than NL children matched on mental age or vocabulary level. Individual differences and production error patterns on fast rate items were examined. The finding that variations in speaking rate had a disproportionate impact upon word learning for children with SLI was interpreted within a framework of limited processing capacity.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank Chris Everman Hollar and Cheryl Neylon who have contributed to this project in various ways, including language sample and acoustic analyses, data entry, and reliability scoring. Others involved at different phases of the project include Pao-Hsiang Chi, Dawn Meyer, and Samantha Wolfson. Special thanks to the Madison, Middleton-Cross Plains, and Monona Grove School Districts for their cooperation and to the speech-language clinicians who helped recruit children, especially to Kathy Lyngaas. Thanks also to the children and parents who participated in this project. This project was funded by NIH NIDCD grant #1R29DC01101 awarded to the first author.
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