Word Learning by Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment Predictors and Poor Learners Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2004
Word Learning by Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shelley Gray
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: Shelley.Gray@asu.edu
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2004
Word Learning by Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1117-1132. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/083)
History: Received April 22, 2003 , Revised August 8, 2003 , Accepted January 5, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1117-1132. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/083)
History: Received April 22, 2003; Revised August 8, 2003; Accepted January 5, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 93

Twenty preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI) and 20 age matches with normal language (NL) participated in a study to determine whether phonological memory or semantic knowledge predicted word-learning success. Poor learners’ performance was analyzed to investigate whether phonology or semantics contributed more to word-learning difficulty. Results suggest that existing lexical knowledge, as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III), and fast-mapping ability hold promise for identifying poor word learners, but individual PPVT-III scores must be compared with SLI group scores. Poor word learners comprehended most new words and showed sufficient semantic knowledge of their referents to draw them but had difficulty producing the words. Findings indicated that both semantics and phonology contribute to word-learning difficulty, with word production presenting the biggest hindrance to success.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R03 DC04240-04. Thanks to Rebecca Vance for her invaluable expertise in data collection and editing; to Matthew Myrvik for stimuli development and data collection; to Karina Sandweg and Florence Dairman for data analysis; to David Ingram, Linda Swisher, and Mary Alt for their review of this research; and to the undergraduate students from the University of Arizona, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, who served as research assistants.
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