Sentence Repetition Accuracy in Adults With Developmental Language Impairment: Interactions of Participant Capacities and Sentence Structures Purpose We asked whether sentence repetition accuracy could be explained by interactions of participant processing limitations with the structures of the sentences. We also tested a prediction of the procedural deficit hypothesis (Ullman & Pierpont, 2005) that adjuncts are more difficult than arguments for individuals with developmental language impairment (DLI). ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2016
Sentence Repetition Accuracy in Adults With Developmental Language Impairment: Interactions of Participant Capacities and Sentence Structures
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gerard H. Poll
    Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL
  • Carol A. Miller
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Janet G. van Hell
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
  • 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 Gerard H. Poll: gerard.poll@elmhurst.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Marleen Westerveld
    Associate Editor: Marleen Westerveld×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2016
Sentence Repetition Accuracy in Adults With Developmental Language Impairment: Interactions of Participant Capacities and Sentence Structures
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2016, Vol. 59, 302-316. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0020
History: Received January 22, 2015 , Revised May 21, 2015 , Accepted August 12, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2016, Vol. 59, 302-316. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0020
History: Received January 22, 2015; Revised May 21, 2015; Accepted August 12, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose We asked whether sentence repetition accuracy could be explained by interactions of participant processing limitations with the structures of the sentences. We also tested a prediction of the procedural deficit hypothesis (Ullman & Pierpont, 2005) that adjuncts are more difficult than arguments for individuals with developmental language impairment (DLI).

Method Forty-four young adults participated, 21 with DLI. The sentence repetition task varied sentence length and the use of arguments and adjuncts. We also administered measures of working memory and processing speed. Our regression models focused on these interactions: group and argument status; processing speed, length, and argument status; and working memory capacity, length, and argument status.

Results Language ability group was a significant predictor of sentence repetition accuracy but did not interact with argument status. Processing speed interacted with sentence length and argument status. Working memory capacity and its separate interactions with argument status and sentence length predicted sentence repetition accuracy.

Conclusions Many adults with DLI may have difficulty with adjuncts as a result of their working memory limitations rather than their language ability. Cognitive limitations common to individuals with DLI are revealed more by particular sentence structures, suggesting ways to construct more diagnostically accurate sentence repetition tasks.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders under Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award 1F31DC010960 (awarded to the first author). The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the National Institutes of Health.
The authors thank Marlea O'Brien, Connie Ferguson, Marcia St. Clair, and Bruce Tomblin for their generous help with participant recruiting. We also thank the adults who participated in the study.
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