ERIC Number: EJ838118
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Complex Sentence Comprehension and Working Memory in Children with Specific Language Impairment
Montgomery, James W.; Evans, Julia L.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v52 n2 p269-288 Apr 2009
Purpose: This study investigated the association of 2 mechanisms of working memory (phonological short-term memory [PSTM], attentional resource capacity/allocation) with the sentence comprehension of school-age children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 2 groups of control children. Method: Twenty-four children with SLI, 18 age-matched (CA) children, and 16 language- and memory-matched (LMM) children completed a nonword repetition task (PSTM), the competing language processing task (CLPT; resource capacity/allocation), and a sentence comprehension task comprising complex and simple sentences. Results: (1) The SLI group performed worse than the CA group on each memory task; (2) all 3 groups showed comparable simple sentence comprehension, but for complex sentences, the SLI and LMM groups performed worse than the CA group; (3) for the SLI group, (a) CLPT correlated with complex sentence comprehension, and (b) nonword repetition correlated with simple sentence comprehension; (4) for CA children, neither memory variable correlated with either sentence type; and (5) for LMM children, only CLPT correlated with complex sentences. Conclusions: Comprehension of both complex and simple grammar by school-age children with SLI is a mentally demanding activity, requiring significant working memory resources.
Descriptors: Sentences, Language Impairments, Short Term Memory, Language Processing, Children, Control Groups, Grammar, Task Analysis, Comprehension
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A