Linguistics Department

Colloquium - Li Sheng (UT CSD) "Semantic deficits in Spanish-English bilingual children with primary language impairment"

Mon, November 19, 2012 | CAL 100

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Primary language impairment (PLI, or specific language impairment) is a developmental disorder that affects about 7% of US children.  While difficulties with morphosyntax are often regarded as the core deficit for PLI, more and more studies have shown that a significant number of children with PLI also struggle with vocabulary learning and semantic development. In this talk, I present two studies that delineate the nature of semantic deficits in Spanish-English bilingual children with PLI. In comparison to typically developing (TD) bilingual peers, bilingual children with PLI showed less densely-connected semantic networks and particular weaknesses with semantic connections that were of a categorical nature (study 1). In addition, in comparison to the TD group, the PLI group’s semantic representation showed less overlap with that of a normative sample of children who were matched on age and language experience (study 2). These findings illustrate the nature and extent of semantic deficits in bilingual children with PLI and provide implications for semantic assessment in bilingual children.

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