The Role of Phonotactic Frequency in Sentence Repetition by Children With Specific Language Impairment PurposeRecent work suggests that specific language impairment (SLI) results from a primary deficit in phonological processing. This deficit is most striking in nonword repetition tasks, where semantic and syntactic demands are eliminated. Children with SLI repeat nonwords less accurately than do their unimpaired peers, which may reflect difficulty extracting phonological ... Research Note
Research Note  |   October 01, 2010
The Role of Phonotactic Frequency in Sentence Repetition by Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeffry A. Coady
    Boston University
  • Julia L. Evans
    San Diego State University
  • Keith R. Kluender
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Contact author: Jeffry A. Coady, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2501 Kittredge Loop Road, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: jeff.coady@colorado.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Research Note   |   October 01, 2010
The Role of Phonotactic Frequency in Sentence Repetition by Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2010, Vol. 53, 1401-1415. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/07-0264)
History: Received November 30, 2007 , Revised September 16, 2008 , Accepted March 7, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2010, Vol. 53, 1401-1415. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/07-0264)
History: Received November 30, 2007; Revised September 16, 2008; Accepted March 7, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

PurposeRecent work suggests that specific language impairment (SLI) results from a primary deficit in phonological processing. This deficit is most striking in nonword repetition tasks, where semantic and syntactic demands are eliminated. Children with SLI repeat nonwords less accurately than do their unimpaired peers, which may reflect difficulty extracting phonological regularities from their lexicons. However, recent evidence suggests that having children with SLI respond to meaningless syllables such as nonwords underestimates their language abilities. Therefore, phonological processing was measured by having children repeat meaningful sentences containing target words differing in phonotactic pattern frequency (PPF).

MethodEighteen children with SLI (mean age = 9;0 [years;months]) and 18 age-matched controls repeated acoustically degraded sentences containing CVC target words differing in PPF, occurring in either subject position or sentence-final position.

ResultsAccuracy results revealed significant main effects due to group, PPF, and sentence position (sentence final > subject). Further, the nonsignificant Group × PPF interaction suggests that both groups of children were similarly affected by PPF.

ConclusionChildren with SLI repeated CVC target words less accurately overall but showed similar sensitivity to PPF as typical controls, suggesting that PPF affects repetition of real words embedded in sentential contexts by both children with SLI and typically developing peers.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants DC-05263 (awarded to the first author), DC-04072 (awarded to the second author), and DC-005650 (awarded to the third author). We are grateful to the children and their parents for participating. We thank Bob Shannon for providing stimulus sentences for acoustic manipulation. We also thank Elina Mainela-Arnold and Lisbeth Heilmann for help with standardized language testing and Heather Levin for reliability coding.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access