Prosodic Boundary Effects on Syntactic Disambiguation in Children With Cochlear Implants Purpose This study investigated prosodic boundary effects on the comprehension of attachment ambiguities in children with cochlear implants (CIs) and normal hearing (NH) and tested the absolute boundary hypothesis and the relative boundary hypothesis. Processing speed was also investigated. Method Fifteen children with NH and 13 children with ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 17, 2018
Prosodic Boundary Effects on Syntactic Disambiguation in Children With Cochlear Implants
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Talita Fortunato-Tavares
    Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York
  • Klara Marton
    The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York
  • Claudia F. de Andrade
    Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
  • Derek Houston
    The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus
  • 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 Talita Fortunato-Tavares: talita.fortunatotavares@lehman.cuny.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Lisa Archibald
    Editor: Lisa Archibald×
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 17, 2018
Prosodic Boundary Effects on Syntactic Disambiguation in Children With Cochlear Implants
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2018, Vol. 61, 1188-1202. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0036
History: Received January 30, 2017 , Revised June 28, 2017 , Accepted January 11, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2018, Vol. 61, 1188-1202. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0036
History: Received January 30, 2017; Revised June 28, 2017; Accepted January 11, 2018

Purpose This study investigated prosodic boundary effects on the comprehension of attachment ambiguities in children with cochlear implants (CIs) and normal hearing (NH) and tested the absolute boundary hypothesis and the relative boundary hypothesis. Processing speed was also investigated.

Method Fifteen children with NH and 13 children with CIs (ages 8–12 years) who are monolingual speakers of Brazilian Portuguese participated in a computerized comprehension task with sentences containing prepositional phrase attachment ambiguity and manipulations of prosodic boundaries.

Results Children with NH and children with CIs differed in how they used prosodic forms to disambiguate sentences. Children in both groups provided responses consistent with half of the predictions of the relative boundary hypothesis. The absolute boundary hypothesis did not characterize the syntactic disambiguation of children with CIs. Processing speed was similar in both groups.

Conclusions Children with CIs do not use prosodic information to disambiguate sentences or to facilitate comprehension of unambiguous sentences similarly to children with NH. The results suggest that cross-linguistic differences may interact with syntactic disambiguation. Prosodic contrasts that affect sentence comprehension need to be addressed directly in intervention with children with CIs.

Acknowledgments
This research was part of the doctoral dissertation of the first author under the direction of the second author, and the research was supported by grants from Fapesp (2012/24837-4) to the first author and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (5R01DC011041) to the second author. The authors thank the children and families who participated.
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