Article  |   December 2010
Spoken Word Recognition in School-Age Children With SLI: Semantic, Phonological, and Repetition Priming
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Melinda Velez
    The City University of New York
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    The City University of New York
  • Contact author: Melinda Velez, The City University of New York, The Graduate School and University Center, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7400, New York, NY 10016-4309. E-mail: melindavelez@gmail.com.
Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   December 2010
Spoken Word Recognition in School-Age Children With SLI: Semantic, Phonological, and Repetition Priming
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2010, Vol.53, 1616-1628. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0042)
History: Accepted 07 Mar 2010 , Received 01 Mar 2009 , Revised 01 Sep 2009
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2010, Vol.53, 1616-1628. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0042)
History: Accepted 07 Mar 2010 , Received 01 Mar 2009 , Revised 01 Sep 2009

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to contribute to the current understanding of how children with specific language impairment (SLI) organize their mental lexicons. The study examined semantic and phonological priming in children with and without SLI.

Method: Thirteen children (7;0–11;3 [years;months]) with SLI and 13 age-matched children with typical language development participated in this study. Prime–target pairs (semantic, phonological, and repetition) were embedded within a running list of words so that the actual pairs were imperceptible. Reaction times to an animacy judgment (alive vs. not alive) were analyzed. The experiment featured 500-ms and 1,000-ms interstimulus intervals (ISIs) between primes and targets.

Results: Children with SLI exhibited priming effects in the repetition condition at both ISIs; however, phonological and semantic effects were absent. Typically developing children exhibited effects in the repetition at both ISIs. Semantic and phonological effects were absent at 500 ms ISIs, but present at 1,000 ms ISIs.

Conclusions: Although children with SLI have priming mechanisms similar to those of their age-matched peers, the absence of semantic and phonological priming suggests that these connections are not strong enough by themselves to yield priming effects. These findings are discussed in the context of semantic and phonological priming, representation, and generalized slowing.

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