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Auditory perception and word recognition in Cantonese-Chinese speaking children with and without Specific Language Impairment*

  • JOANNA C. KIDD (a1), KATHY K. SHUM (a1), ANITA M.-Y. WONG (a1), CONNIE S.-H. HO (a1) and TERRY K. AU (a1)...

Abstract

Auditory processing and spoken word recognition difficulties have been observed in Specific Language Impairment (SLI), raising the possibility that auditory perceptual deficits disrupt word recognition and, in turn, phonological processing and oral language. In this study, fifty-seven kindergarten children with SLI and fifty-three language-typical age-matched controls were assessed with a speech-gating task to measure spoken word recognition, psychophysical tasks to measure auditory Frequency Modulation (FM) detection and Frequency Discrimination (FD), and standardized psychometric tests of phonological processing and oral language. As a group, children with SLI took significantly longer than language-typical controls to recognize words with high neighborhood density, perhaps reflecting subpar phonological representations. FM, but not FD, was significantly worse in SLI. However, while both poorer speech-gating performance and poorer auditory thresholds (FM) were evident in SLI, spoken word recognition did not mediate any relation between auditory perception and either phonological processing or oral language.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Terry Kit-fong Au, Department of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China. tel: (852) 3917 2383; e-mail: terryau@hku.hk

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We thank the children, parents, and staff of participating kindergartens, speech-language therapists at the Child Assessment Services (Hong Kong SAR), and our team of dedicated research assistants for their support. We thank K. K. Luke for sharing his Cantonese spoken-word corpus, and John Hogben and Genevieve McArthur for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grant Council (Grant GRF753308H to Anita Wong) and the University of Hong Kong (Grant 200611159229 to Terry Au, and a post-doc fellowship to Joanna Kidd).

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Auditory perception and word recognition in Cantonese-Chinese speaking children with and without Specific Language Impairment*

  • JOANNA C. KIDD (a1), KATHY K. SHUM (a1), ANITA M.-Y. WONG (a1), CONNIE S.-H. HO (a1) and TERRY K. AU (a1)...

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