Nonword Repetition and Language Development in 4-Year-Old Children With and Without a History of Early Language Delay Purpose: This study examined the usefulness of the Nonword Repetition Test (NRT; C. Dollaghan & T. F. Campbell, 1998) with 4-year-old children and the relationship among the NRT, language, and other aspects of mental processing. Method: The NRT was administered to 64 children at 4 years of age; 44 had ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2005
Nonword Repetition and Language Development in 4-Year-Old Children With and Without a History of Early Language Delay
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Donna J. Thal
    San Diego State University, San Diego, California
  • Scott Miller
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Janna Carlson
    Accent on Speech, San Diego, California
  • Martha Moreno Vega
    San Diego State University, San Diego, California
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: dthal@mail.sdsu.edu
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2005
Nonword Repetition and Language Development in 4-Year-Old Children With and Without a History of Early Language Delay
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1481-1495. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/103)
History: Received March 3, 2004 , Accepted April 21, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1481-1495. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/103)
History: Received March 3, 2004; Accepted April 21, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 22

Purpose: This study examined the usefulness of the Nonword Repetition Test (NRT; C. Dollaghan & T. F. Campbell, 1998) with 4-year-old children and the relationship among the NRT, language, and other aspects of mental processing.

Method: The NRT was administered to 64 children at 4 years of age; 44 had a history of typical language development (HTD), and 20 had a history of language delay (HLD) at 16 months of age. Study 1 compared methods of scoring phoneme errors to determine whether the NRT was appropriate for this age group. Study 2 examined whether the NRT differentiated HTD from HLD. Study 3 examined the relations among scores on the NRT and standardized tests of language and mental processing.

Results: The NRT was found to be appropriate for 4-year-old children. Although all children had normal language abilities at the time of the study, the NRT (and several aspects of language and mental processing) differentiated between HTD and HLD. Relations among the NRT and other measures of language and mental processing were different from those previously reported, an unexpected finding that is inconsistent with traditional accounts of working memory and its relation to language development. Potential explanations are explored, and some directions for future research are suggested.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Grant RO1 DC000482 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (principal investigator: Donna Thal). We thank Cassandra Callaghan and Julia Nance for their assistance with various aspects of data and article preparation and Julia Evans for stimulating discussions that helped shape the design of Study 2.
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