When prosody meets syntax: The processing of the syntax-prosody interface in children with developmental dyslexia and developmental language disorder

Martina Caccia, Maria Luisa Lorusso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Prosody and syntax are assumed to interact strictly, both in terms of processing and of brain activation. According to some authors, the interaction between prosody and other components of language such as syntax and pragmatics would be problematic for children with DLD and/or dyslexia, whereas prosody itself would not. Sixteen children with typical development (TD), 16 children with developmental dyslexia (DD) and 16 with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) aged 10–13 took part in the experiment. Children had to perform a picture matching task, after listening to sentences with an ambiguous syntactic structure disambiguated through prosody. A GLM analysis was performed taking into account the number of pictures representing target responses, distractors or alternative interpretations. Correlations with tests of language and reading were also computed. Participants with DLD chose distractors more often than participants with DD and TD in correspondence to sentences with complex psycholinguistic structure. Children with DLD gave less target responses than children with DD but their response pattern was similar to that of TD children, whereas the DD group showed a qualitatively different profile. Strong correlations emerged between the capacity to process the syntax-prosody interface and metaphonological as well as morphosyntactic abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-33
Number of pages18
JournalLingua
Volume224
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Developmental dyslexia
  • Developmental language disorder
  • Prosody
  • Syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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