Reasons for Language : Language and Analogical Reasoning Ability in Children with Cochlear Implants and Children with Typical Hearing
Sammanfattning: The usage-based model of language acquisition assumes that language is learned by its usage. General cognitive processes, especially analogical reasoning ability, are assumed to lead to the understanding of words and grammatical structures. It has been argued that the time of language or auditory deprivation children with cochlear implants (CIs) often experience early in life, might affect both their language and their cognitive abilities. Children with CIs have disadvantages in terms of language acquisition as they start receiving language input later than peers with typical hearing (TH), and the perceptual quality of the input is reduced. However, they might have additional difficulties in language acquisition if their analogical reasoning ability is negatively influenced by the language or auditory deprivation early in life. The results found in this thesis show that the language delays often seen in children with CIs are not explained by differences in analogical reasoning ability. Results indicate that analogical reasoning ability has a limited influence on language acquisition for the tested age-group. However, language abilities affect the performance on analogical reasoning tasks which are either verbal or can be supported by verbal strategies. This needs to be taken into consideration when comparing analogical reasoning ability of children with CI sand children with TH. In addition, the results from this thesis indicate that the structure of the mental lexicon is associated with the communication skills of children with CIs. The structure of the mental lexicon is most likely influenced by the amount of language input a child receives. The main implication of the results is that emphasis should be put on reducing the duration of language deprivation and to improve the quality of the language input for children with CIs.
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