Nonadjacent Dependency Learning in Cantonese-Speaking Children With and Without a History of Specific Language Impairment Purpose This study investigated nonadjacent dependency learning in Cantonese-speaking children with and without a history of specific language impairment (SLI) in an artificial linguistic context. Method Sixteen Cantonese-speaking children with a history of SLI and 16 Cantonese-speaking children with typical language development (TLD) were tested with a nonadjacent ... Research Note
Research Note  |   March 01, 2017
Nonadjacent Dependency Learning in Cantonese-Speaking Children With and Without a History of Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lai-Sang Iao
    Centre for Communication Disorders, University of Hong Kong, China
    Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Hong Kong, China
    Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
  • Lai Yan Ng
    Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Hong Kong, China
  • Anita Mei Yin Wong
    Centre for Communication Disorders, University of Hong Kong, China
    Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Hong Kong, China
  • Oi Ting Lee
    Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Hong Kong, China
  • 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 Lai-Sang Iao: lai-sang.iao@ntu.ac.uk
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Lizbeth Finestack
    Associate Editor: Lizbeth Finestack×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Notes
Research Note   |   March 01, 2017
Nonadjacent Dependency Learning in Cantonese-Speaking Children With and Without a History of Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2017, Vol. 60, 694-700. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0232
History: Received July 1, 2015 , Revised November 19, 2015 , Accepted August 9, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2017, Vol. 60, 694-700. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0232
History: Received July 1, 2015; Revised November 19, 2015; Accepted August 9, 2016

Purpose This study investigated nonadjacent dependency learning in Cantonese-speaking children with and without a history of specific language impairment (SLI) in an artificial linguistic context.

Method Sixteen Cantonese-speaking children with a history of SLI and 16 Cantonese-speaking children with typical language development (TLD) were tested with a nonadjacent dependency learning task using artificial languages that mimic Cantonese.

Results Children with TLD performed above chance and were able to discriminate between trained and untrained nonadjacent dependencies. However, children with a history of SLI performed at chance and were not able to differentiate trained versus untrained nonadjacent dependencies.

Conclusions These findings, together with previous findings from English-speaking adults and adolescents with language impairments, suggest that individuals with atypical language development, regardless of age, diagnostic status, language, and culture, show difficulties in learning nonadjacent dependencies. This study provides evidence for early impairments to statistical learning in individuals with atypical language development.

Acknowledgments
This study was partially supported by the University of Hong Kong through the Small Project Funding awarded to Lai-Sang Iao. We thank the children, parents, and head teachers who made this research possible. Thanks also go to the anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions.
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