Contributions of Children's Linguistic and Working Memory Proficiencies to Their Judgments of Grammaticality Purpose The authors explored the cognitive mechanisms involved in language processing by systematically examining the performance of children with deficits in the domains of working memory and language. Method From a database of 370 school-age children who had completed a grammaticality judgment task, groups were identified with a co-occurring ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2014
Contributions of Children's Linguistic and Working Memory Proficiencies to Their Judgments of Grammaticality
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nicolette B. Noonan
    Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Sean M. Redmond
    University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Lisa M. D. Archibald
    Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Lisa M. D. Archibald: larchiba@uwo.ca
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Ron Gillam
    Associate Editor: Ron Gillam×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2014
Contributions of Children's Linguistic and Working Memory Proficiencies to Their Judgments of Grammaticality
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 979-989. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0225
History: Received July 12, 2012 , Revised February 28, 2013 , Accepted October 15, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 979-989. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0225
History: Received July 12, 2012; Revised February 28, 2013; Accepted October 15, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose The authors explored the cognitive mechanisms involved in language processing by systematically examining the performance of children with deficits in the domains of working memory and language.

Method From a database of 370 school-age children who had completed a grammaticality judgment task, groups were identified with a co-occurring language and working memory impairment (LI–WMI; n = 18) or specific language impairment (SLI) with typical working memory skills ( n = 60) and matched control groups. Correct and incorrect use of grammatical markers occurred either early or late in sentence stimuli, imposing a greater working memory load for late-marker sentences.

Results Children with SLI showed a lower preference for grammatical items than typically developing controls, regardless of error marker position. Children with LI–WMI demonstrated a performance pattern modulated by error marker position: Their preference for grammatical items was lower than typically developing controls for late but not early marker sentences.

Conclusion This pattern of results suggests that there are distinct and dissociable impacts of working memory and linguistic skills on metalinguistic functioning through a grammatical judgment task.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a discovery grant from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Western University Academic Development Fund. We thank Carol Miller, Laurence Leonard, and Denise Finneran for providing the stimuli sentences. The valuable assistance of participating school personnel and families is gratefully acknowledged.
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