Syntactic Versus Memory Accounts of the Sentence Comprehension Deficits of Specific Language Impairment: Looking Back, Looking Ahead Purpose Compared with same-age typically developing peers, school-age children with specific language impairment (SLI) exhibit significant deficits in spoken sentence comprehension. They also demonstrate a range of memory limitations. Whether these 2 deficit areas are related is unclear. The present review article aims to (a) review 2 main theoretical accounts ... Review Article
Review Article  |   December 01, 2016
Syntactic Versus Memory Accounts of the Sentence Comprehension Deficits of Specific Language Impairment: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James W. Montgomery
    Communication Sciences and Disorders, Ohio University, Athens
  • Ronald B. Gillam
    Communication Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan
  • Julia L. Evans
    School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson
  • 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 James W. Montgomery: montgoj1@ohio.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Catherine Moran
    Associate Editor: Catherine Moran×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Review Article
Review Article   |   December 01, 2016
Syntactic Versus Memory Accounts of the Sentence Comprehension Deficits of Specific Language Impairment: Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2016, Vol. 59, 1491-1504. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0325
History: Revised February 4, 2016 , Accepted April 25, 2016 , Received September 16, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2016, Vol. 59, 1491-1504. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0325
History: Revised February 4, 2016; Accepted April 25, 2016; Received September 16, 2016

Purpose Compared with same-age typically developing peers, school-age children with specific language impairment (SLI) exhibit significant deficits in spoken sentence comprehension. They also demonstrate a range of memory limitations. Whether these 2 deficit areas are related is unclear. The present review article aims to (a) review 2 main theoretical accounts of SLI sentence comprehension and various studies supporting each and (b) offer a new, broader, more integrated memory-based framework to guide future SLI research, as we believe the available evidence favors a memory-based perspective of SLI comprehension limitations.

Method We reviewed the literature on the sentence comprehension abilities of English-speaking children with SLI from 2 theoretical perspectives.

Results The sentence comprehension limitations of children with SLI appear to be more fully captured by a memory-based perspective than by a syntax-specific deficit perspective.

Conclusions Although a memory-based view appears to be the better account of SLI sentence comprehension deficits, this view requires refinement and expansion. Current memory-based perspectives of adult sentence comprehension, with proper modification, offer SLI investigators new, more integrated memory frameworks within which to study and better understand the sentence comprehension abilities of children with SLI.

Acknowledgment
The writing of this review article was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC010883.
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