At the Intersection of Cognition and Grammar: Deficits Comprehending Counterfactuals in Turkish Children With Specific Language Impairment Purpose This study investigated the comprehension of counterfactual conditionals in monolingual Turkish children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing (TD) children. Comprehending counterfactuals requires a well-developed cognitive system (Beck, Riggs, & Gorniak, 2009). Children with SLI have impaired cognitive functioning (Im-Bolter, Johnston, & Pascual-Leone, 2006), which affects their ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2015
At the Intersection of Cognition and Grammar: Deficits Comprehending Counterfactuals in Turkish Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tuba Yarbay Duman
    Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication, Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Elma Blom
    Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  • Seyhun Topbaş
    Education, Research & Training Center for Speech and Language Pathology, Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey
  • 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 Tuba Yarbay Duman: T.YarbayDuman@uva.nl
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2015
At the Intersection of Cognition and Grammar: Deficits Comprehending Counterfactuals in Turkish Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 410-421. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0054
History: Received February 14, 2014 , Revised June 26, 2014 , Accepted December 11, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 410-421. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0054
History: Received February 14, 2014; Revised June 26, 2014; Accepted December 11, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose This study investigated the comprehension of counterfactual conditionals in monolingual Turkish children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing (TD) children. Comprehending counterfactuals requires a well-developed cognitive system (Beck, Riggs, & Gorniak, 2009). Children with SLI have impaired cognitive functioning (Im-Bolter, Johnston, & Pascual-Leone, 2006), which affects their ability to comprehend counterfactuals.

Method The sample consisted of 13 children (9 boys, 4 girls) with SLI who were matched in age and nonverbal intelligence with 13 TD children (8 boys, 5 girls; mean age 6;9 [years; months] for both groups). Each group completed a sentence comprehension and repetition task with 3 sentence conditions: nonconditional, factual, and counterfactual. Nonconditionals did not have if-embedding, whereas factual and counterfactual conditionals were morphosyntactically equivalent if-clauses, but only the latter was cognitively complex.

Results Conditionals were more difficult to comprehend than nonconditionals for both groups. Counterfactuals were more difficult to comprehend than the morphosyntactically equivalent factual counterparts for the SLI group. There was no discrepancy between the groups for repetition of counterfactuals and factuals.

Conclusions Children with SLI have difficulty processing counterfactuals due to morphosyntactic complexity (if-embedding) and the cognitive processes involved in comprehending counterfactuals. This indicates that cognitive complexity adds to sentence comprehension deficits in SLI.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the Veni Program of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) under Grant 016.114.065 to Tuba Yarbay Duman. We thank all children and their parents and the staff at the rehabilitation centers/clinics and schools for being part of this study.
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