Our findings contrast with those of a number of previous studies comparing people with DS and those with intellectual or language impairment. This result is consistent with previous findings (see Finestack et al., 2013; Joffe & Varlokosta, 2009; Laws & Bishop, 2003; Pennington et al., 2003; Price et al., 2007; Rosin et al., 1988). They reported that along with chronological age, both verbal and visual working memory, were significant predictors of syntactic comprehension ability. The majority of individuals with DS have a moderate intellectual disability (Chapman & Hesketh, 2001); however, IQ scores can span from the severe to the average range (Roizen, 2007). By Jill G. De Villiers A and Jennie E. Pyers B. Abstract. Consequently, the developmental patterns and mechanisms of syntactic production in cL2 learners of English are largely unknown. Two measures were taken from each of the digit recall tasks: (a) the number of trials in which the participant successfully recalled all the items in their correct serial order (span); (b) the number of trials in which the participant recalled all the items in each set presented, regardless of the order (accuracy). 2) Binomial Theorem was used to establish a response threshold that was above chance for the TECS-E and TROG assessments. The usual direction of effect posited between the development of concepts and the language that encodes them is, quite naturally, that the concepts develop before the corresponding terms. (2012) have previously reported on the relationship between syntactic comprehension ability and memory in people with DS. The grammatical morphemes subtest measures inflectional and derivational morphology. You are an Editor for the journal in which the article is published. You hold, or are currently applying for, any patents or significant stocks/shares relating to the subject matter of the paper you are commenting on. Therefore, by applying the discontinue rule, if a given number of items are failed, children will not be tested on complex sentences. 4) Hierarchical linear regression was used to determine the contribution of explained variance by predictors for the sentence-verification task (TECS-E) and TROG-2 (a multiple-choice comprehension task) respectively. Syntax refers to the rules of word order and word combinations in order to form phrases and sentences. In addition, our task was designed to focus on children’s linguistic ability and to minimise the cognitive demands evident in assessments using a multiple-choice design, which are likely to disadvantage those with DS. Their significantly lower performance than the CI group shows that children with DS have a disproportionate difficulty in their ability to understand complex sentences even when compared to other children (matched on non-verbal mental age) who are cognitively impaired. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Individuals with DS show particular difficulties with verbal short-term or working memory tasks (Jarrold & Baddeley, 2010; Jarrold et al., 2002; Laws, 2002) even when compared to other groups with cognitive delay, who do not have DS (Bower & Hayes, 1994; Chapman, 2006; Laws, 2004). syntactic development of children through counting the MLU (mean length of utterance). However, a close look at the distractor items suggests that the participants could respond correctly by understanding key words in the sentence and did not need to understand the complex syntax i.e. Using an act out priming task followed by a picture selection task they found a high rate of comprehension accuracy in their DS participants and posit that their results contradict previous suggestions of an overall syntactic impairment in people with DS. Compound-complex Syntax Examples: Even though he was nervous, the boy jumped and he landed across the stream. The characteristic profile of language abilities in those with DS suggests that receptive language is typically better than expressive language (Chapman et al., 2002; Laws & Bishop, 2003) and that vocabulary is stronger than syntax. A strong relationship between memory and syntax has also emerged. each relative clause type, complement taking verb and adverbial clause, to avoid tiring children while testing a range of structures. One view of a child with poor comprehension of syntax is that their situation is similar to a competent adult who has to cope in a foreign country where they only have a weak grasp of the language: they will recognise individual words and create what sense they can from them in the context, but fail to understand more complex meanings conveyed by the word sequence. Much of the work in relation to syntax has focussed on expressive language and primarily on spontaneous language production. Not approved - fundamental flaws in the paper seriously undermine the findings and conclusions. Loban used three separate subgroups for his statistical analysis: The “high” group: students with high language ability The “low” group: students with low language ability The “random” group: students randomly selected from the sample regardless of language ability Students were placed in the “low” or “high” groups based on their performance on their i… This block of four items uses relative clauses attached to a main clause object, two of which are similar in construction to those used in the TECS-E (albeit with some lexical differences—a noun rather that a pronoun in the head noun position: The girl chases the dog that is jumping) and two of which incorporate prepositional phrases (The cup that is on the box is red). The Cork Teaching Hospitals Ethics Committee granted ethical approval for the study (ECM 4-07/10/14). Email or password not correct. In contrast 26/33 (79%) of the TD children, 13/32 (40%) of the CI children and 6/33 (18%) of the DS children had perfect performance on the intransitive subject relatives on TECS-E. With the exception of 5 children with DS who attended special schools, all others attended mainstream schools. Finally, DS status was entered into the regression and although it only accounted for an additional 2% of the variance, the contribution was significant (p = 0.011). Please confirm that you accept the User Comment Terms and Conditions. The parameter estimates from the final model (Table 4) can be found in Table 5. In a complement clause, the embedded sentence serves as one of the arguments of the verb in the matrix clause (Quirk et al., 1985). In a second regression we compared the two groups with intellectual disability and included age in the model. Forward digit recall task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/N9WMQ (Duta, 2018a), Backward digit recall task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/B5N79 (Duta, 2018b), Visuo-spatial memory task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/RVDXU (Duta, 2018c), TECS-E complex syntax comprehension task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/AN7S2 (Duta & Frizelle, 2018d). In addition, although children with DS have increased risk of a number of difficulties likely to influence their language development (involving limited cognitive ability, hearing level and memory skills) the relationship between these factors and language competence is not straightforward and has never been investigated in relation to the complex syntactic abilities of this population. We have sent an email to , please follow the instructions to reset your password. Is the work clearly and accurately presented and does it cite the current literature? A diagnosis of DS is given when an error in cell development results in an extra copy of chromosome 21, so there are 47 chromosomes rather than the usual 46. More on categories of analysis and on findings as we proceed. We predicted correlations of comprehension scores with all three variables, though performance on particular clause types would differ, as discussed above. The performance range of each group is illustrated in the plot at Figure 2. All commenters must hold a formal affiliation as per our Policies. In previous work, we have used a 10 items for each structure, with a smaller range of structures. Descriptive analysis of different clause types. Visuo-spatial memory was assessed using a version of the block recall test from the WMTB-C (Pickering & Gathercole, 2001) adapted for tablet presentation. Expository discourse, the use of language to convey information, requires facility with complex syntax. But in fact there are two different ways in which relationships between successive ideas are expressed: Parataxis, where the main elements are placed in a sequence of syntactic units linked together by connectors such as and or but; and Hypotaxis, where relations are specified as subordinate clauses joined by links such as when or although. 4) Cognitive ability, verbal memory, working memory and hearing level will predict performance in the DS group. The results are shown in Table 4. References. Several studies suggest that the receptive vocabulary of those with DS is in keeping with that of cognitively matched children with typical development, (Chapman et al., 1991; Laws & Bishop, 2003; Miller, 1995) while other studies suggest a lower performance from those with DS (Caselli et al., 2008; Hick et al., 2005; Price et al., 2007). Predictors of children’s performance on TECS-E. Our next prediction related to the factors that were associated with children’s performance on TECS-E. We hypothesised that the ability of children with DS to understand complex sentences would be explicable in terms of their deficits in verbal short-term memory, working memory and hearing level. The addition of: 1) full statistical details for regressions 1 and 2 including the constant value; and 2) Cronbachs alpha as a measure of internal consistency. These are deemed to be the earliest bi-clausal relative clause construction to emerge in young children’s expressive language (Diessel, 2004) and the easiest for children to repeat (Diessel & Tomasello, 2005; Frizelle & Fletcher, 2014) and to understand (Frizelle et al., 2018a). In this study, in keeping with children’s early production of relative clauses (see Diessel, 2004), we focused on relatives that modify the main clause object. Degrees of linguistic proficiency were determined in this study based on a battery of morphological tests. However, this format is likely to lead to children failing for reasons other than a lack of linguistic knowledge. In addition, DS status made an independent contribution to how children performed on both the sentence verification (TECS-E) and multiple choice sentence picture-matching tasks (TROG-2) over and above their cognitive and verbal memory ability. Within the past 4 years, you have held joint grants, published or collaborated with any of the authors of the selected paper. favour or employment) as a result of your submission. In addition, DS status made an independent contribution to children’s performance, showing that children’s understanding of complex sentences was not completely explained by poor memory skills. There are three distinct types of subordinate clause; complement clauses, adverbial clauses and relative clauses, and all three are the focus of the current paper. You registered with F1000 via Google, so we cannot reset your password. Participants were presented with an array of nine identical images (of a leaf) behind which there were cartoon monsters. Given the additional executive demands of multiple-choice comprehension tasks (Frizelle et al., 2017) we anticipated that this would be the case. However, the children included in the current study are considerably older, ranging in age from 5;01 to 7;09 years and we therefore expect a more stable performance across relative clause types. However, Thordartottir and colleagues did highlight the degree of variability in the group with DS. We calculated the average effect size for the difference between those with Down syndrome and TD controls matched on nonverbal mental age. The sample size required with two tested predictors (intellectual level and Down syndrome status) at 90% power and alpha = 0.05 was 70, giving an estimate of 23 participants per group. Pass/fail data was collected for each ear at 25 and 45 dB. The descriptives for each group are given in Table 2. Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. In the case of relative clauses there was always an alternative to the head noun to which the relative clause was referring. Some studies have compared those with DS to mental-age-matched TD controls, while others have matched cognitive ability with other cognitively impaired groups such as those with Williams syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and those with specific language impairment. The current study explored how positive and negative parenting behaviours relate to growth in complex syntax learning from child age 3 to age 4 years, for children with typical development or developmental delays (DDs). John had significant issues with syntax and grammar and I needed to back up and address those issues before he could benefit from high-level comprehension strategies. ‘ yes ’ should be parallel sang and the two groups with intellectual disability and included age the. 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