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Höhle, Barbara ; van de Vijver, Ruben ; Weissenborn, Jürgen
Word processing at 19 months and its relation to language performance at 30 months : a retrospective analysis of data from German learning children
Kurzfassung auf EnglischRecent research has shown that the early lexical representations children establish in their second year of life already seem to be phonologically detailed enough to allow differentiation from very similar forms. In contrast to these findings children with specific language impairment show problems in discriminating phonologically similar word forms up to school age. In our
study we investigated the question whether there would be differences in the processing of phonological details in normally developing and in children with low language performance in the second year of life. This was done by a retrospective study in which in the processing of phonological details was tested by a preferential looking experiment when the children were 19 months old. At the age of 30 months children were tested with a standardized German test of language comprehension and production (SETK2). The preferential looking data at 19 months revealed an opposite reaction pattern for the two groups: while the children scoring normally in the SETK2 increase their fixations of a pictured object only when it was named with the correct word, children with later low language performance did so only when presented with a phonologically slightly deviant mispronunciation. We suggest that this pattern does not point to a specific deficit in processing phonological information in these children but might be related to an instability of early phonological representations, and/or a generalized problem of information processing as compared to typically developing children.
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