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An investigation into the semantic-syntactic interface in typically developing children and children with grammatical specific language impairment.

Gallon, N.J.; (2007) An investigation into the semantic-syntactic interface in typically developing children and children with grammatical specific language impairment. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis presents an initial investigation of the semantic-syntactic interface in a sub-group of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI): the Grammatical (G)-SLI group. Previous research of this group has largely focused on their morpho-syntactic abilities and more recently on the morpho-phonological interface. In contrast, the semantic ability of children with SLI in general is an area that has received little investigation and the question remains as to whether their deficit extends to the semantic-syntactic interface. The thesis focuses on aspect. Understanding of lexical and grammatical aspect is investigated using grammatical judgement and sentence-picture matching tasks. The impact of aspect on passives, a grammatical construction that children with G-SLI have difficulty with is also investigated. The group of children with G-SLI who participated were aged between 11 and 16 and their performance was compared to 3 groups of typically developing children matched on either grammar (LAI, mean age 6) or vocabulary (LA2, LA3 mean ages 7 and 9 respectively) ability. The investigations revealed that children with G-SLI were impaired in their understanding of the past progressive. Their difficulty in reconciling an ongoing event with something that is happening in the past provides evidence of morpho-syntax impacting on semantic interpretation. They also found descriptions of events that derived their telic interpretation compositionally, from the addition of a PP, to be harder to understand those that did not, providing further evidence of syntax impacting on semantics. The results are consistent with van der Lely's CGC hypothesis which emphasises the cumulative and interactive effects that deficits in grammar can have on linguistic constructions. Specifically the thesis shows how syntactic context affects understanding and performance in semantic aspect. It also indicates that the interaction and/or impact of language components on each other should be more fully considered in both theoretical and clinical contexts.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: An investigation into the semantic-syntactic interface in typically developing children and children with grammatical specific language impairment.
Identifier: PQ ETD:592821
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by Proquest
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of)
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1445498
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