Neighborhood Density and Syntactic Class Effects on Spoken Word Recognition: Specific Language Impairment and Typical Development Purpose The purpose of the current study was to determine the effect of neighborhood density and syntactic class on word recognition in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typical development (TD). Method Fifteen children with SLI (M age = 6;5 [years;months]) and 15 with TD (M age ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 17, 2018
Neighborhood Density and Syntactic Class Effects on Spoken Word Recognition: Specific Language Impairment and Typical Development
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jill R. Hoover
    Department of Communication Disorders, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Jill R. Hoover: jrhoover@comdis.umass.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Lisa Archibald
    Editor: Lisa Archibald×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 17, 2018
Neighborhood Density and Syntactic Class Effects on Spoken Word Recognition: Specific Language Impairment and Typical Development
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2018, Vol. 61, 1226-1237. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0099
History: Received March 15, 2017 , Revised August 1, 2017 , Accepted February 4, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, May 2018, Vol. 61, 1226-1237. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0099
History: Received March 15, 2017; Revised August 1, 2017; Accepted February 4, 2018

Purpose The purpose of the current study was to determine the effect of neighborhood density and syntactic class on word recognition in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typical development (TD).

Method Fifteen children with SLI (M age = 6;5 [years;months]) and 15 with TD (M age = 6;4) completed a forward gating task that presented consonant–vowel–consonant dense and sparse (neighborhood density) nouns and verbs (syntactic class).

Results On all dependent variables, the SLI group performed like the TD group. Recognition performance was highest for dense words and nouns. The majority of 1st nontarget responses shared the 1st phoneme with the target (i.e., was in the target's cohort). When considering the ranking of word types from easiest to most difficult, children showed equivalent recognition performance for dense verbs and sparse nouns, which were both easier to recognize than sparse verbs but more difficult than dense nouns.

Conclusion The current study yields new insight into how children access lexical–phonological information and syntactic class during the process of spoken word recognition. Given the identical pattern of results for the SLI and TD groups, we hypothesize that accessing lexical–phonological information may be a strength for children with SLI. We also discuss implications for using the forward gating paradigm as a measure of word recognition.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grants awarded to Indiana University: T32 DC000012 (PD: David Pisoni) and R01 DC001694 (PI: Judith Gierut). The author thanks the families who participated in this research and the research assistants in the Sounds2Syntax Lab who assisted with data preparation. The author would also like to thank Judith Gierut and Michele Morrisette for valuable input throughout the duration of this project. Data were collected at Indiana University with portions presented at the 2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention.
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