The relevance of emotion for the acquisition of new words in children with normal language development and children with specific language impairment

The aim of this project is to investigate the impact of negative emotional prosody on the word learnig process in children with normal language development compared to children with specific language impairment at the age between 3;6 and 4;0.

Project No. G 309

Carmen Herzog

Word learning is a complex process in which a fragile representation is initially established via fast mapping. This first process is followed by a second long-lasting process in which the semantical, phonological and lexical features will be differentiated. The aim of my study is to explore if the language learning child uses auditive emotional features as a cue to establish a first link between a new wordform and the corresponding referent.

Against the backround that children as of the age of six months show an increased attention towards the expression of negative emotions it is planned to investigate the impact of negative prosody compared to neutral prosody on the word learning process. As several studies show children with specific language impairment (SLI) have problems to perceive and differentiate auditive features of emotions. Against this backround SLI children will be compared with normal developed children (Age 3;6 -4;0 years). The results will be conducive for the discussion of the vulnerabilty of emotional competence in children with SLI is associated with language deficits or not.

To investigate the questions I use a word learning experiment. Immediately after the experiment a fast mapping test will be carried out (e.g., receptive and productive performance). To test the sustainable storage of the newly learned words the same test will be repeated one week after the presentation of the new words.

Discipline

Linguistics

Supervisor

Prof. Dr. Gisela Klann-Delius