Skip to main content Accessibility help

Nonword repetition and language learning disorders: A developmental contingency framework

  • Margaret J. Snowling (a1)


In 1990 Gathercole and Baddeley proposed a strong hypothesis that has generated a wealth of research in the field of language development and disorder. The hypothesis was that phonological memory, as indexed by nonword repetition, is causally related to vocabulary development. Support for the hypothesis came from an impressive range of longitudinal, correlational, and laboratory training studies, and from studies of specific language impairment (SLI). However, more recently, Gathercole, Tiffany, Briscoe, Thorn, and The ALSPAC Team (2005), directly tested the causal hypothesis by following a cohort of children from age 5 to 8 years. Contrary to prediction, children with poor nonword repetition abilities at age 5 had normal vocabulary at the age of 8.



Hide All
Aguiar L., & Brady S. 1991. Vocabulary acquisition and reading ability. Reading and Writing, 3, 413–425.
Bishop D. V. M. 2006. Beyond words: Phonological short-term memory and syntactic impairments. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 545547.
Bishop D. V. M., & Snowling M. J. 2004. Developmental dyslexia and specific language impairment: Same or different? Psychological Bulletin, 130, 858888.
Castro-Caldas A., Petersson K. M., Reis A., Stone-Elander S., & Ingvar M. 1998. The illiterate brain. Learning to read and write during childhood influences the functional organisation of the adult brain. Brain, 121, 10531063.
Catts H. W., Adlof S. M., Hogan T. P., & Ellis Weismer S. (in press). Are specific language impairment and dyslexia distinct disorders? Journal of Speech, Hearing and Language Research.
Gathercole S. E. 2006. Nonword repetition and word learning: The nature of the relationship [Keynote]. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 513543.
Gathercole S. E., & Baddeley A. D. 1990. Phonological memory deficits in language disordered children: Is there a causal connection? Journal of Memory and Language, 29, 336360.
Gathercole S. E., Tiffany C., Briscoe J., Thorn A. S. C., & The ALSPAC Team. 2005. Developmental consequences of poor phonological short-term memory function in childhood: A longitudinal study. Jounal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 598611.
Morton J. 2004. Understanding developmental disorders: A cognitive modelling approach. Oxford: Blackwell.
Morton J., & Frith U. 1995. Causal modelling: A structural approach to developmental psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Manual of developmental psychopathology. New York: Wiley.
Nation K., Clarke P., Marshall C., & Durand M. 2004. Hidden language impairments in children: Parallels between poor reading comprehension and specific language impairment? Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 199211.
Swan D., & Goswami U. 1997. Picture naming deficits in developmental dyslexia: The phonological representations hypothesis. Brain and Language, 56, 334353.
Walley A. 1993. The role of vocabulary development in children's spoken word recognition and segmentation ability. Developmental Review, 13, 286350.
Type Description Title

 PDF (332 KB)
332 KB

Nonword repetition and language learning disorders: A developmental contingency framework

  • Margaret J. Snowling (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.