Word Learning by Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment Effect of Phonological or Semantic Cues Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2005
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 / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2005
Word Learning by Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1452-1467. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/101)
History: Received February 17, 2004 , Revised September 9, 2004 , Accepted April 12, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1452-1467. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/101)
History: Received February 17, 2004; Revised September 9, 2004; Accepted April 12, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 60

Purpose: This study investigated whether phonological or semantic encoding cues promoted better word learning for children with specific language impairment (SLI) and whether this treatment differentially affected children with SLI and normal language (NL).

Method: Twenty-four preschoolers ages 4;0 (years;months) to 5;11 with SLI and 24 age- and gender-matched children with NL participated. The between-group factor was language group (NL, SLI) and within-group factors were language modality (comprehension, recognition, production) and treatment condition (phonological, semantic). Word learning was assessed during fast mapping, word learning, and posttesting with trials to criterion calculated for the number of words learned. A drawing task assessed the change in semantic representation of words.

Results: The SLI group comprehended more words in the semantic condition and produced more words in the phonological condition, but the NL group performed similarly in both. The NL group required significantly fewer trials than the SLI group to comprehend words in the semantic and phonological conditions and to produce words in the semantic condition, but between-group differences for production were not significant for the phonological condition.

Conclusions: The results suggest that preschoolers with SLI may benefit from cues that highlight the phonological or semantic properties of words but that different cues may aid different aspects of word learning.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by Grant R03 DC04240-04 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Thanks are extended 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 Dr. David Ingram, for reviewing this article; and to the undergraduate students from Arizona State University Department of Speech and Hearing Science who served as research assistants.
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