Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Sensitivity to Word Order Cues by Normal and Language/Learning Disabled Adults
Plante, E., Gómez, R., & Gerken, L. A. (2002). Sensitivity to word order cues by normal and language/learning disabled adults. Journal of Communication Disorders, 35, 453–462.
The ability to recognize statistical regularities in inputs is considered to be an important learning mechanism emerging early in life and supporting language acquisition (Gómez & Gerken, 1999). Children with specific language impairment (SLI) on the other hand, have been found to have difficulty extracting statistical regularities from the input (Bishop, 1982).
In this article, Plante, Gómez, and Gerken (2002) examined statistical learning of sequential word order strings generated by an artificial grammar. Participants included 32 adults with and without personal or familial history of language/learning disabilities (L/LD). In the artificial grammar task, adults listened to novel consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, with grammatical rules regarding syllable sequences for five minutes. After listening to the language, participants were asked to judge whether a new sentence spoken in the novel language obeys or violates the rules of the language. After only five minutes of exposure to the training set, typically developing adults were able to exceed chance performance, whereas adults with L/LD showed significantly lower performance compared to the control group.
These results suggest that adults with L/LD may have difficulty in recognizing word order compared to typically developing adults. It may be adults with L/LD have more difficulty extracting the regularities available in linguistic input. Another study reviewed in this blog by Evans et al. (2009) suggested that children with language impairment requirement more repetitions to learn the statistical patterns available in the input.
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