Language Processing and Contextual Influence. A study of Swedish preschool children with language impairment

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Lund University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund Sweden

Sammanfattning: Language Processing and Contextual Influence A Study of Swedish Preschool Children with Language Impairment The aim of the present work was to study different types of contextual influence on language performance in a variety of tasks: repetition of nonwords, narration, understanding of idioms and picture naming in a group of Swedish preschool children with language impairment (LI). The stress pattern of words and nonwords was found to have an impact on the repetition performance of the participants. Furthermore, nonword repetition was found to be linked to expressive language skills, particularly phonological developmental level. Different types of genres, that is conversation and narration, led to differences in aspects of language production such as fluency and grammatical structure. We also found that the relative level of language comprehension was important for the ability to provide a story with several content units as well as to only include aspects considered relevant for the listener and the task. It was shown that preschool children with LI do not interpret idioms literally but they have difficulties defining them. Idiom understanding was linked to performance on a theory of mind task, measures of semantic-lexical skills as well as receptive grammar. In the final study a sentence prime significantly increased naming speed in children with LI. There was a tendency that children who benefitted from the prime were the individuals with relatively good scores on some of the verbal measures. Assessment tools that incorporate dynamic aspects of processing need to be developed for clinical use. A dialogistic perspective could provide additional information when assessing children with LI.

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