Enhancing Syntactic Knowledge in School-Age Children With Developmental Language Disorder: The Promise of Syntactic Priming

James W. Montgomery, Ronald B. Gillam, Elena Plante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: We propose that implicit learning, including syntactic priming, has therapeutic promise to enhance the syntactic knowledge of children with developmental language disorder (DLD). Method: We review the chunk-based learning framework of syntactic learning, the developmental evidence in support of it, and the developmental literature on syntactic priming as an instance of chunk-based statistical learning. We use this framework to help understand the nature of the syntactic learning difficulties of children with DLD. We then briefly review the available explicit treatments for syntactic deficits and end by proposing an implicit training activity that integrates syntactic priming with the principles of statistical learning. Results: Statistically induced chunk-based learning is a powerful driver of syntactic learning, and syntactic priming is a form of this learning. Repeated priming episodes during everyday language interactions lead children to create abstract and global syntactic representations in long-term memory. We offer some thoughts on an implicit language intervention approach with syntactic priming at its center. Conclusions: Statistically induced chunk-based learning is a powerful driver of syntactic learning, and syntactic priming is a form of this learning. Repeated priming episodes during everyday language interactions lead children to create abstract and global syntactic representations in long-term memory. We offer some thoughts on an implicit language intervention approach with syntactic priming at its center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-597
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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