Word Knowledge Acquisition in Retarded Children A Longitudinal Study of Acquisition of a Complex Linguistic Structure Reports
Reports  |   November 01, 1987
Word Knowledge Acquisition in Retarded Children
 
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Article Information
Reports   |   November 01, 1987
Word Knowledge Acquisition in Retarded Children
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, November 1987, Vol. 52, 324-334. doi:10.1044/jshd.5204.324
History: Received October 6, 1986 , Accepted January 29, 1987
 
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, November 1987, Vol. 52, 324-334. doi:10.1044/jshd.5204.324
History: Received October 6, 1986; Accepted January 29, 1987

The purpose of this 1-year longitudinal study was to investigate the acquisition of word knowledge by 18 retarded children. The words examined were relevant to the correct interpretation of sentences of the type "John is eager/easy to please." The interest was in how retarded children acquire the subcategorization features of these words. The study revealed that retarded children, like intellectually normal children, show great inconsistencies in their interpretations of specific words during an intermediate stage of performance on this linguistic structure; but the errors by retarded children, in contrast to those by intellectually normal children, were highly correlated with word frequency. The results are interpreted in representational terms. It is argued that both retarded and intellectually normal children show shifts in their word knowledge representations. Interpretations based on gradual acquisition of word knowledge are contrasted with a reorganization theory, and a synthesis of the two views is given. Possible explanations for the finding that the retarded children nevertheless differed from intellectually normal children in the relation of their errors to word frequency are also given.

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