Memory functioning and mental verbs acquisition in children with specific language impairment
Memory and language operate in synergy. Recent literature stresses the importance of memory functioning in interpreting language deficits. Two groups of 50 children each, ages 8–12 were studied. The first group included children with specific language impairment, while the participants in the second group were typically developing children. The two groups, which were matched on age, nonverbal intelligence and varied significantly in verbal ability were examined, using a test battery of four memory functioning (phonological, working and long-term memory) and five mental verb measures. The statistical analyses indicated that the two groups differed significantly in all language and memory measures; a logistic regression analysis revealed that within each main group existed nested subgroups of different developmental patterns with working and long-term memory measures as the most robust discriminate markers of classification. Language impaired children had more difficulties in the acquisition of mental verbs because they are less able to process and store phonological information in working memory and long-term lexicon.