Pronoun Comprehension in Individuals With Down Syndrome: Deviance or Delay? Purpose Results of recent pilot studies suggest that the interpretation of pronouns in individuals with Down syndrome (DS) may follow a pattern unattested in typical development, indicating the presence of a selective deficit targeting the comprehension of reflexive pronouns. These findings come at a time when there is a heated ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2014
Pronoun Comprehension in Individuals With Down Syndrome: Deviance or Delay?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Eirini Sanoudaki
    Bangor University, Bangor, United Kingdom
  • Spyridoula Varlokosta
    University of Athens, Greece
  • 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 Eirini Sanoudaki: e.sanoudaki@bangor.ac.uk
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2014
Pronoun Comprehension in Individuals With Down Syndrome: Deviance or Delay?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1442-1452. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0035
History: Received February 11, 2013 , Revised September 17, 2013 , Accepted December 27, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1442-1452. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0035
History: Received February 11, 2013; Revised September 17, 2013; Accepted December 27, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose Results of recent pilot studies suggest that the interpretation of pronouns in individuals with Down syndrome (DS) may follow a pattern unattested in typical development, indicating the presence of a selective deficit targeting the comprehension of reflexive pronouns. These findings come at a time when there is a heated debate surrounding pronoun comprehension in typical development as well. This study aims to contribute to these debates by examining pronoun comprehension in Greek, a language that exhibits unusual patterns in pronoun comprehension in typical development.

Method Seven Greek-speaking individuals with DS and a control group of 14 typically developing (TD) children were tested. The authors examined the comprehension of strong pronouns, reflexive pronouns, and pronominal clitics, using a picture selection task.

Results The data reveal evidence of deviant pronoun comprehension in individuals with DS compared with the TD group. The DS group encountered problems in the interpretation of reflexive pronouns when compared with the TD group, while the performance of the two groups was comparable in all remaining conditions.

Conclusions Findings are in line with the selective deficit model of language comprehension in DS, supporting the presence of a cross-linguistic reflexive deficit.

Acknowledgments
We are grateful to the children and adults who participated in this study, as well as to the teachers and directors of the schools and centers where testing took place. We also thank audiences at the GALA 2011, ISTAL20, and at Bangor University, where parts of these data were presented, for their comments and suggestions. We acknowledge a research grant from the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (I.K.Y.) awarded to the first author and access to materials developed within COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action A33 “Cross-Linguistically Robust Stages of Children’s Linguistic Performance” ( COST Action A33, 2006–2010).
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