Sentence Recall by Children With SLI Across Two Nonmainstream Dialects of English Purpose The inability to accurately recall sentences has proven to be a clinical marker of specific language impairment (SLI); this task yields moderate-to-high levels of sensitivity and specificity. However, it is not yet known if these results hold for speakers of dialects whose nonmainstream grammatical productions overlap with those that ... Research Forum
Research Forum  |   February 01, 2016
Sentence Recall by Children With SLI Across Two Nonmainstream Dialects of English
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janna B. Oetting
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Janet L. McDonald
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Christy M. Seidel
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Michael Hegarty
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • 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 Janna B. Oetting: cdjanna@lsu.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Mabel Rice
    Editor and Associate Editor: Mabel Rice×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Forum: SLI, ADHD, ASD, CI, Bilingualism, and Bidialectism
Research Forum   |   February 01, 2016
Sentence Recall by Children With SLI Across Two Nonmainstream Dialects of English
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2016, Vol. 59, 183-194. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0036
History: Received January 30, 2015 , Revised May 10, 2015 , Accepted June 9, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2016, Vol. 59, 183-194. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0036
History: Received January 30, 2015; Revised May 10, 2015; Accepted June 9, 2015

Purpose The inability to accurately recall sentences has proven to be a clinical marker of specific language impairment (SLI); this task yields moderate-to-high levels of sensitivity and specificity. However, it is not yet known if these results hold for speakers of dialects whose nonmainstream grammatical productions overlap with those that are produced at high rates by children with SLI.

Method Using matched groups of 70 African American English speakers and 36 Southern White English speakers and dialect-strategic scoring, we examined children's sentence recall abilities as a function of their dialect and clinical status (SLI vs. typically developing [TD]).

Results For both dialects, the SLI group earned lower sentence recall scores than the TD group with sensitivity and specificity values ranging from .80 to .94, depending on the analysis. Children with SLI, as compared with TD controls, manifested lower levels of verbatim recall, more ungrammatical recalls when the recall was not exact, and higher levels of error on targeted functional categories, especially those marking tense.

Conclusion When matched groups are examined and dialect-strategic scoring is used, sentence recall yields moderate-to-high levels of diagnostic accuracy to identify SLI within speakers of nonmainstream dialects of English.

Acknowledgments
Funding for this study was provided through National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant RO1DC009811, awarded to Janna B. Oetting, Janet L. McDonald, and Michael Hegarty. Appreciation is extended to Jessica Berry, Rebecca Hammarlund, Kyomi Gregory, Ryan Lee, Karmen Porter, Andrew Rivière, Tina Villa, and a number of current and past MA students who helped create the stimuli and collect the data. We would also like to thank the teachers, families, and children who agreed to participate in the study.
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