Publications by authors named "Monica Sanz-Torrent"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Sociodemographic and Pre-Linguistic Factors in Early Vocabulary Acquisition.

Children (Basel) 2021 Mar 9;8(3). Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Psychology Faculty, Universitat de Barcelona, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.

Here, we studied the beginnings of language development, jointly assessing two groups of precursors, sociodemographic and pre-linguistic, that have previously been studied separately. Thus, the general objective of this study was to explore which factors best explained the acquisition of initial expressive vocabulary. The sample consisted of 504 participants from Catalan-speaking homes with ages ranging between 10 and 18 months. The data were obtained through the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MCB-CDIs). Vocabulary development shows a lexical spurt at 17 months. Regression analyses show that pre-linguistic factors have more explanatory power of than sociodemographic ones. Within the sociodemographic variables, age, birth order and birth weight explain part of the vocabulary variance. With respect to pre-linguistic variables, imitation, late gestures and phrase comprehension are predictors of the initial vocabulary acquisition. Specifically, imitation and late gestures were the pre-linguistic behaviours that made it possible to distinguish between children with higher and lower levels of vocabulary. We discussed these findings in relation to their relevance for language acquisition and for the early assessment of linguistic competence.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/children8030206DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001358PMC
March 2021

Rethinking attention in time: Expectancy violations reconcile contradictory developmental evidence.

J Exp Child Psychol 2021 Jun 15;206:105070. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Department of Cognition, Development and Educational Psychology, University of Barcelona, 08035 Barcelona, Spain; Institute of Neurosciences, University of Barcelona, 08035 Barcelona, Spain; Cognition and Brain Plasticity Unit, Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), 08908 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), 08010 Barcelona, Spain.

Temporal expectations critically influence perception and action. Previous research reports contradictory results in children's ability to endogenously orient attention in time as well as the developmental course. To reconcile this seemingly conflicting evidence, we put forward the hypothesis that expectancy violations-through the use of invalid trials-are the source of the mixed evidence reported in the literature. With the aim of offering new results that could reconcile previous findings, we tested a group of young children (4- to 7-year-olds), an older group (8- to 12-year-olds), and a group of adults. Temporal cues provided expectations about target onset time, and invalid trials were used such that the target appeared at the unexpected time in 25% of the trials. In both experiments, the younger children responded faster in valid trials than in invalid trials, showing that they benefited from the temporal cue. These results show that young children rely on temporal expectations to orient attention in time endogenously. Importantly, younger children exhibited greater validity effects than older children and adults, and these effects correlated positively with participants' performance in the invalid (unexpected) trials. We interpret the reduction of validity effects with age as an index of better adaptation to the invalid (unexpected) condition. By using invalid trials and testing three age groups, we demonstrate that previous findings are not inconsistent. Rather, evidence converges when considering the presence of expectancy violations that require executive control mechanisms, which develop progressively during childhood. We propose a distinction between rigid and flexible mechanisms of temporal orienting to accommodate all findings.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2020.105070DOI Listing
June 2021

Consistency of a Nonword Repetition Task to Discriminate Children with and without Developmental Language Disorder in Catalan-Spanish and European Portuguese Speaking Children.

Children (Basel) 2021 Jan 26;8(2). Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Department of Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080, USA.

Nonword repetition has been proposed as a diagnostic marker of developmental language disorder (DLD); however, the inconsistency in the ability of nonword repetition tasks (NRT) to identify children with DLD raises significant questions regarding its feasibility as a clinical tool. Research suggests that some of the inconsistency across NRT may be due to differences in the nature of the nonword stimuli. In this study, we compared children's performance on NRT between two cohorts: the children in the Catalan-Spanish cohort (CS) were bilingual, and the children in the European Portuguese cohort (EP) were monolingual. NRT performance was assessed in both Spanish and Catalan for the bilingual children from Catalonia-Spain and in Portuguese for the monolingual children from Portugal. Results show that although the absolute performance differed across the two cohorts, with NRT performance being lower for the CS, in both Catalan and Spanish, as compared to the EP cohort in both, the cut-points for the likelihood ratios (LH) were similar across the three languages and mirror those previously reported in previous studies. However, the absolute LH ratio values for this study were higher than those reported in prior research due in part to differences in wordlikeness and frequency of the stimuli in the current study. Taken together, the findings from this study show that an NRT consisting of 3-, 4-, and 5-syllable nonwords, which varies in wordlikeness ratings, when presented in a random order accurately identifies and correctly differentiates children with DLD from TD controls the child is bilingual or monolingual.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/children8020085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7911802PMC
January 2021

Real-time comprehension of Spanish prepositions and prepositional locutions in bilingual children with developmental language disorder: A study based on eye-movement evidence.

Int J Lang Commun Disord 2021 Jan 28;56(1):51-71. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Estudis de Psicologia i Ciències de l'Educació, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Function words, and more specifically prepositions and prepositional locutions, are considered to be one of the most important difficulties for children with DLD.

Aims: To examine the capacity of bilingual children with developmental language disorder (DLD) to comprehend different Spanish prepositions and prepositional locutions in a simple sentence structure, for example, El gato está sobre la mesa/El gato está bajo la mesa (The cat is on the table/The cat is under the table).

Methods & Procedures: We used simple sentence structures to reduce lexical difficulties in order to focus our evaluation strictly on the grammatical morphemes under study. A total of 96 Spanish and Catalan-speaking participants, divided into four groups, were evaluated in an eye-tracking psycholinguistic experiment: 24 children with DLD (average age = 7.8 years, age range = 4.6-12.6), 24 children with the same chronological age (average age = 7.8 years, age range = 4.6-12.2), 24 children with the same linguistic level (average age = 6.8 years, age range = 4.6-9.4) and 24 adults (average age = 22.5 years, age range = 18-30).

Outcomes & Results: The empirical data show that, despite some differences, bilingual children with and without DLD can comprehend Spanish prepositions and prepositional locutions under the current experimental conditions.

Conclusions & Implications: Our results suggest that the capacity of bilingual children with DLD to comprehend Spanish prepositions and prepositional locutions in real time and within simple sentence structures is preserved. What this paper adds What is already known on the subject The empirical literature indicates that children with DLD show important errors in the production of functional words in general, and prepositions in particular. However, unlike other grammatical morphemes (such as clitic pronouns and articles), prepositions have been less studied, and the few existing studies have focused on the dimension of language production, not comprehension. What this paper adds to existing knowledge The present study, composed of two experimental tasks, seeks to determine to what extent the observable difficulty in the linguistic production of prepositions is also present in the comprehension of children with DLD. The empirical results suggest a less atypical comprehension in comparison with our initial hypothesis, and the differences that appear between the two tasks, allow us to formulate a theoretical interpretation regarding the mechanisms of their understanding. Thus far, we are not aware of other studies that have evaluated in real time the comprehension of prepositions and prepositional locutions in parallel. Clinical implications of this study Results suggest the presence of a more preserved comprehension of prepositions and prepositional locutions, at least in real-time experimental conditions (eye-tracking) and in simple sentence structures. A less atypical comprehension raises the possibility of a better prognosis for children with DLD. Working with comprehension of simple sentences and the gradual addition of more difficult grammatical morphemes could help to enhance the comprehension of a growing complex grammar.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12581DOI Listing
January 2021

Real time comprehension of Spanish articles in children with developmental language disorder: Empirical evidence from eye movements.

J Commun Disord 2020 Sep - Oct;87:106027. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Faculty of Psychology, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.

Function words and, more specifically, articles have been widely indicated as one of the main sources of difficulty for children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). The present study is the first to assess the online comprehension of Spanish articles in bilingual children with DLD. In an eye tracking experiment, we monitored participants' eye movements as they listened to Spanish articles embedded in structurally simple sentences. Ninety-six subjects from four different groups were evaluated: 24 children with DLD (average age 7;08), 24 children with the same chronological age (average age 7;08), 24 younger children matched for mean length utterance (average age 6;08), and 24 adults (average age 22;05). We calculated the proportion between the preference for the correct visual referent and a competitor object. Our results suggest that children with DLD are capable of timely comprehension of Spanish articles in real time and within simple sentence structures. However, we observed a strong effect of chronological age in the sample of interest; younger children with DLD are able to identify the correct referent, but this preference is weaker compared to the older children with DLD. We also observed local differences between the DLD group, and the other two children control groups, particularly when the chronological age group is introduced as a factor. These findings suggest a developmental trajectory that is different in the DLD group relative to children with typical language development. Notwithstanding, in spite of the article production difficulties previously reported, children with DLD in the present sample appear to be able to comprehend Spanish articles in the current experimental conditions.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcomdis.2020.106027DOI Listing
July 2020

"El nen s'ha menjat una aranya": The development of narratives in Catalan speaking children.

J Child Lang 2020 09 1;47(5):1030-1051. Epub 2020 May 1.

City University of London, UK.

The production of a well-constructed narrative is the culmination of several years of language acquisition and is an important milestone in children's development. There is no current description of narrative development for Catalan speaking children. This study collected elicited narratives in Catalan from 118 children aged 4;0-10;11. Narratives were scored for macrostructure and microstructure. Narrative scores improved with age with maximum performance for macrostructure by 9 years. Children's ability to use micro-structural components of Catalan is variable with some developments continuing beyond 9 years. The results are discussed in relation to theoretical arguments about universal and specific features of narrative development. We conclude by highlighting the usefulness of the new test for future language assessment of children acquiring Catalan.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000920000057DOI Listing
September 2020

Auditory word recognition of verbs: Effects of verb argument structure on referent identification.

PLoS One 2017 5;12(12):e0188728. Epub 2017 Dec 5.

Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Word recognition includes the activation of a range of syntactic and semantic knowledge that is relevant to language interpretation and reference. Here we explored whether or not the number of arguments a verb takes impinges negatively on verb processing time. In this study, three experiments compared the dynamics of spoken word recognition for verbs with different preferred argument structure. Listeners' eye movements were recorded as they searched an array of pictures in response to hearing a verb. Results were similar in all the experiments. The time to identify the referent increased as a function of the number of arguments, above and beyond any effects of label appropriateness (and other controlled variables, such as letter, phoneme and syllable length, phonological neighborhood, oral and written lexical frequencies, imageability and rated age of acquisition). The findings indicate that the number of arguments a verb takes, influences referent identification during spoken word recognition. Representational complexity and amount of information generated by the lexical item that aids target identification are discussed as possible sources of this finding.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0188728PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5716596PMC
December 2017

The effects of bilingualism on conflict monitoring, cognitive control, and garden-path recovery.

Cognition 2016 May 23;150:213-31. Epub 2016 Feb 23.

Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, University of Maryland, Biology-Psychology Bldg., College Park, MD 20742, USA; Center for Advanced Study of Language, University of Maryland, 7005 52nd Ave, College Park, MD 20742, USA; Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, Lefrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA.

Bilinguals demonstrate benefits on non-linguistic tasks requiring cognitive control-the regulation of mental activity to resolve information-conflict during processing. This "bilingual advantage" has been attributed to the consistent management of two languages, yet it remains unknown if these benefits extend to sentence processing. In monolinguals, cognitive control helps detect and revise misinterpretations of sentence meaning. Here, we test if the bilingual advantage extends to parsing and interpretation by comparing bilinguals' and monolinguals' syntactic ambiguity resolution before and after practicing N-back, a non-syntactic cognitive-control task. Bilinguals outperformed monolinguals on a high-conflict but not a no-conflict version of N-back and on sentence comprehension, indicating that the advantage extends to language interpretation. Gains on N-back conflict trials also predicted comprehension improvements for ambiguous sentences, suggesting that the bilingual advantage emerges across tasks tapping shared cognitive-control procedures. Because the overall task benefits were observed for conflict and non-conflict trials, bilinguals' advantage may reflect increased cognitive flexibility.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.02.011DOI Listing
May 2016

Do Children with SLI Use Verbs to Predict Arguments and Adjuncts: Evidence from Eye Movements During Listening.

Front Psychol 2015 6;6:1917. Epub 2016 Jan 6.

Grup de Recerca en Cognició i Llenguatge, Departament de Psicologia Bàsica, Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelona, Spain; Institut de Recerca en Cervell, Cognició i Conducta (IR3C), Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelona, Spain.

Different psycholinguistic theories have suggested the importance of verb semantics in rapidly anticipating upcoming information during real-time sentence comprehension. To date, no study has examined if children use verbs to predict arguments and adjuncts in sentence comprehension using children with specific language impairment (SLI). Twenty-five children with SLI (aged 5 years and 3 months to 8 years and 2 months), 25 age-matched controls (aged 5 years and 3 months to 8 years and 2 months), 25 MLU-w controls (aged 3 years and 3 months to 7 years and 1 month), and 31 adults took part in the study. The eye movements of participants were monitored while they heard 24 sentences, such as El hombre lee con atención un cuento en la cama (translation: The man carefully reads a storybook in bed), in the presence of four depicted objects, one of which was the target (storybook), another, the competitor (bed), and another two, distracters (wardrobe and grape). The proportion of looks revealed that, when the meaning of the verb was retrieved, the upcoming argument and adjunct referents were rapidly anticipated. However, the proportion of looks at the theme, source/goal and instrument referents were significantly higher than the looks at the locatives. This pattern was found in adults as well as children with and without language impairment. The present results suggest that, in terms of sentence comprehension, the ability to understand verb information is not severely impaired in children with SLI.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01917DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702442PMC
January 2016

Argument structure and the representation of abstract semantics.

PLoS One 2014 11;9(8):e104645. Epub 2014 Aug 11.

Departament de Psicologia Bàsica, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

According to the dual coding theory, differences in the ease of retrieval between concrete and abstract words are related to the exclusive dependence of abstract semantics on linguistic information. Argument structure can be considered a measure of the complexity of the linguistic contexts that accompany a verb. If the retrieval of abstract verbs relies more on the linguistic codes they are associated to, we could expect a larger effect of argument structure for the processing of abstract verbs. In this study, sets of length- and frequency-matched verbs including 40 intransitive verbs, 40 transitive verbs taking simple complements, and 40 transitive verbs taking sentential complements were presented in separate lexical and grammatical decision tasks. Half of the verbs were concrete and half were abstract. Similar results were obtained in the two tasks, with significant effects of imageability and transitivity. However, the interaction between these two variables was not significant. These results conflict with hypotheses assuming a stronger reliance of abstract semantics on linguistic codes. In contrast, our data are in line with theories that link the ease of retrieval with availability and robustness of semantic information.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0104645PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4128767PMC
April 2015

The formulation of argument structure in SLI: an eye-movement study.

Clin Linguist Phon 2013 Feb;27(2):111-33

Cognitive Neuroscience and Information Technologies Research Program, IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Catalunya.

This study investigated the formulation of verb argument structure in Catalan- and Spanish-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing age-matched controls. We compared how language production can be guided by conceptual factors, such as the organization of the entities participating in an event and knowledge regarding argument structure. Eleven children with SLI (aged 3;8 to 6;6) and eleven control children participated in an eye-tracking experiment in which participants had to describe events with different argument structure in the presence of visual scenes. Picture descriptions, latency time and eye movements were recorded and analyzed. The picture description results showed that the percentage of responses in which children with SLI substituted a non-target verb for the target verb was significantly different from that for the control group. Children with SLI made more omissions of obligatory arguments, especially of themes, as the verb argument complexity increased. Moreover, when the number of arguments of the verb increased, the children took more time to begin their descriptions, but no differences between groups were found. For verb type latency, all children were significantly faster to start describing one-argument events than two- and three-argument events. No differences in latency time were found between two- and three-argument events. There were no significant differences between the groups. Eye-movement showed that children with SLI looked less at the event zone than the age-matched controls during the first two seconds. These differences between the groups were significant for three-argument verbs, and only marginally significant for one- and two-argument verbs. Children with SLI also spent significantly less time looking at the theme zones than their age-matched controls. We suggest that both processing limitations and deficits in the semantic representation of verbs may play a role in these difficulties.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/02699206.2012.751623DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073311PMC
February 2013

Effect of verb argument structure on picture naming in children with and without specific language impairment (SLI).

Int J Lang Commun Disord 2012 Nov-Dec;47(6):637-53. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Cognitive Neuroscience and Information Technology, IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: This study investigated verb argument structure effects in children with specific language impairment (SLI).

Aims: A picture-naming paradigm was used to compare the response times and naming accuracy for nouns and verbs with differing argument structure between Spanish-speaking children with and without language impairment.

Methods & Procedures: Twenty-four children with SLI (ages 5;3-8;2 [years;months]), 24 age-matched controls (ages 5;3-8;2), 24 MLU-w controls (ages 3;3-7;1 years), and 31 adults participated in a picture-naming study.

Outcomes & Results: The results show all groups produced more correct responses and were faster for nouns than all verbs together. As regards verb type accuracy, there were no differences between groups in naming one-argument verbs. However, for both two- and three-argument verbs, children with SLI were less accurate than adults and age-matched controls, but similar to the MLU-matched controls. For verb type latency, children with SLI were slower than both the age-matched controls and adults for one- and two-argument verbs, while no differences were found in three-argument verbs. No differences were found between children with SLI and MLU-matched controls for any verb type.

Conclusions & Implications: It has been shown that the naming of verbs is delayed in Spanish children with SLI. It is suggested that children with SLI may have problems encoding semantic representations.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-6984.2012.00170.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109971PMC
April 2013

Perception of audio-visual speech synchrony in Spanish-speaking children with and without specific language impairment.

J Child Lang 2013 Jun 9;40(3):687-700. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Departament de Psicologia Bàsica, Facultat de Psicologia, Universitat de Barcelona and Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C), Barcelona, Spain.

Speech perception involves the integration of auditory and visual articulatory information, and thus requires the perception of temporal synchrony between this information. There is evidence that children with specific language impairment (SLI) have difficulty with auditory speech perception but it is not known if this is also true for the integration of auditory and visual speech. Twenty Spanish-speaking children with SLI, twenty typically developing age-matched Spanish-speaking children, and twenty Spanish-speaking children matched for MLU-w participated in an eye-tracking study to investigate the perception of audiovisual speech synchrony. Results revealed that children with typical language development perceived an audiovisual asynchrony of 666 ms regardless of whether the auditory or visual speech attribute led the other one. Children with SLI only detected the 666 ms asynchrony when the auditory component preceded [corrected] the visual component. None of the groups perceived an audiovisual asynchrony of 366 ms. These results suggest that the difficulty of speech processing by children with SLI would also involve difficulties in integrating auditory and visual aspects of speech perception.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000912000189DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3954717PMC
June 2013

Auditory word recognition of nouns and verbs in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI).

J Commun Disord 2012 Jan-Feb;45(1):20-34. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Cognitive Neuroscience and Information Technologies Research Program, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Catalunya, Spain.

Unlabelled: Nouns are fundamentally different from verbs semantically and syntactically, since verbs can specify one, two, or three nominal arguments. In this study, 25 children with Specific Language Impairment (age 5;3-8;2 years) and 50 typically developing children (3;3-8;2 years) participated in an eye-tracking experiment of spoken language comprehension to compare the dynamics of spoken word recognition for nouns and verbs in Spanish. Listeners' eye movements were recorded as they searched an array of pictures in response to hearing a noun or verb. Results showed significant an animacy effect before the word was finished as images that contain more animate entities attracted their looks which suggest an underdevelopment suppression mechanisms inhibition. Moreover, after word finished all the groups showed differences between nouns and verbs. They were faster in recognizing nouns than verbs and one-argument were recognized faster than two- and three-verb arguments whereas. Children with SLI were slower that their controls and especially in the recognition of three-argument verbs. We suggest that this was due to an incomplete argument structure representation that affects processing times.

Learning Outcomes: (1) As a result of this activity, the participant will be able to describe the differences between adults and children with and without SLI in spoken word recognition of nouns and verbs. (2) As a result of this activity, the participant will be able to describe the animacy effect.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcomdis.2011.09.003DOI Listing
May 2012

Narrative comprehension and production in children with SLI: an eye movement study.

Clin Linguist Phon 2011 Sep 31;25(9):767-83. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Estudis de Psicologia i Ciències de l'Educació, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

This study investigates narrative comprehension and production in children with specific language impairment (SLI). Twelve children with SLI (mean age 5;8 years) and 12 typically developing children (mean age 5;6 years) participated in an eye-tracking experiment designed to investigate online narrative comprehension and production in Catalan- and Spanish-speaking children with SLI. The comprehension task involved the recording of eye movements during the visual exploration of successive scenes in a story, while listening to the associated narrative. With regard to production, the children were asked to retell the story, while once again looking at the scenes, as their eye movements were monitored. During narrative production, children with SLI look at the most semantically relevant areas of the scenes fewer times than their age-matched controls, but no differences were found in narrative comprehension. Moreover, the analyses of speech productions revealed that children with SLI retained less information and made more semantic and syntactic errors during retelling. Implications for theories that characterize SLI are discussed.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/02699206.2011.565542DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106358PMC
September 2011

Do children realize that pretend emotions might be unreal?

J Genet Psychol 2011 Jan-Mar;172(1):40-55

University of Girona, Spain.

This research is aimed at comparing children's understanding of the distinction between external and internal emotion in deception and pretend play situations. A total of 337 children from 4 to 12 years of age participated in the study. Previous research suggests that in deception situations this understanding is very rudimentary at the age of 4 years, whereas 6-year-olds can articulate it in words. In the present work the children were asked to make this distinction in pretend play or deception tasks. The results show that in pretend play situations children start making this distinction at the age of 6 years, and their performance is better when the simulated emotion is negative rather than positive. These findings suggest that 4-year-olds are not aware that the emotions expressed in pretend play situations might be different from internal emotions.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2010.504761DOI Listing
May 2011

Verb morphology in Catalan and Spanish in children with specific language impairment: a developmental study.

Clin Linguist Phon 2008 Jun;22(6):459-74

Departament de Psicologia Basica, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

In this article we examine language processing and development in Catalan or Spanish-speaking children with SLI, focusing on the study of the verb. We analyse the key initial phase of its process of acquisition and aim to define common features of the SLI group that distinguish them from children with normal language development. We intend to identify more precisely the kind of delay shown by these children in a language with a rich verb morphology, in terms of both structure and chronology. The sample comprised 18 Catalan-Spanish bilingual pre-school children, assigned to three groups of six; an SLI group and two control groups, one matched for age and the other matched for MLU-w. Developmental data were obtained by recording situations of spontaneous speech at two different time points. Certain differences were found between groups in verb production. Production of verb inflection by children with SLI was only partial at the first evaluation; they maintained the same percentage of errors after a year. The patterns of correct and incorrect verb forms found in Catalan and Spanish do not corroborate the EOI hypothesis, but they support the Surface Hypothesis, given that the number of errors is not particularly high. This suggests the presence of limitations in subjects' processing ability, linked to the typological characteristics of the specific language being learnt.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699200801892959DOI Listing
June 2008

Influence of phonology on morpho-syntax in Romance languages in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI).

Int J Lang Commun Disord 2007 May-Jun;42(3):325-47

Department of Applied Pedagogy and Educational Psychology, University of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Background: The profiles of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) differ greatly according to the language they speak. The Surface Hypothesis attempts to explain these differences through the theory that children with SLI will incorrectly produce elements in their language with low phonological weights or that are produced in a non-canonical prosodic structure.

Aims: Previous studies have shown that the most characteristics errors produced by Catalan and Spanish-speaking children with SLI include function word omission (morpho-syntax) and weak syllable omission (phonology). The omission of function words points to a morpho-syntactic explanation of SLI, while weak syllable omission supports a phonological explanation of SLI. Yet, function words are weak syllables; thus, it is possible that the same mechanism underlies both problems.

Methods & Procedures: Data were extracted from spontaneous language produced by five children with SLI and five comparison children matched for age and MLU-w. They were assessed on two occasions: at 3;10 and 4;9 years of age. These interviews were then transcribed and the morphological and phonological errors coded. A non-parametric mean analysis and various regression analyses were conducted.

Outcomes & Results: The results show that function word omission and weak syllable omission were the most characteristic errors made by Spanish and Catalan-speaking children with SLI and established that omissions increase as prosodic weight decreases. They also indicated that weak syllabic omission may explain most function word omissions.

Conclusions & Implications: The data support the Surface Hypothesis and suggest that the same impaired mechanism may underlie the morphological and phonological problems SLI children display.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13682820600881527DOI Listing
January 2008

A comparative study of the phonology of pre-school children with specific language impairment (SLI), language delay (LD) and normal acquisition.

Clin Linguist Phon 2002 Dec;16(8):573-96

Dep. Ciències de l'Educació, Guillem Cifré de Colonyà building, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Crta. Valldemossa, km. 7.5, 07071 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

The phonology of two groups of SLI (n = 5) and LD (n = 5) children was analysed at age 3 and compared with two control groups: an age control (n = 5) and a language level control (measured using the MLU-W) (n = 5). Children with SLI and LD showed a delay in the acquisition of segments, syllabic structures and word structures, and in the simplification processes, compared with their age control group. However, SLI children also displayed significant differences vis-à-vis their language level controls, mainly in early acquisitions: vowels, nasals and stops at the segmental level, and in CV structures at the syllabic level. There is also a simplification process that seems to be more prevalent in these children than in their language level controls, namely, the deletion of unstressed syllables, mainly initial ones. The results enable SLI to be distinguished from LD and suggest that the development of SLI phonology is deviant. This deviation is interpreted as being a plateau in early acquisitions when later acquisitions have already appeared. The results are considered in the light of Leonard's surface hypothesis and an exclusively linguistic cause for this disorder is ruled out.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699200210148394DOI Listing
December 2002