General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 14:30 to 15:00 Oral presentation
Idiom understanding in Specific Language Impairment population and its relationship with pragmatics
Speaker: Clara Andrés, Universitat Jaume I de Castellón

Authors: Clara Andrés-Roqueta; Rosa Ana Clemente

Idioms represent a kind of metaphorical language but with a high conventional component, and their understanding is dependent to the context where are said. In general, transparent idioms are easier to understand for children than opaque ones. Children with learning communication disorders have a particular difficulty in using and the understanding idioms. However, it is not clear if this difficulty is general to subjects with Specific Language Impairment (SLI), or only increases in those children with more pragmatic impairments (PLI or new Social Communication Disorder). The main goal of this study is to check if the lack of competence to understand figurative language increases in children with more pragmatic disabilities within the SLI disorder, taking into account two conditions: semantic opacity (transparent/opaque) and pragmatic simplification (visual/verbal). A group of children with SLI and a group of PLI were assessed using twenty usual Spanish idioms, and they were grouped according to their semantic opacity. Every child was asked to define each idiom (“What does XXX mean?”). Also, seven idioms from the list of the verbal task were selected to create a visual recognition condition. Compared to the age-matched control group, SLI group showed more problems in the transparent group of idioms than in the opaque ones. PLI group performed lower than control group in both groups of idioms. Moreover, SLI group appeared to be more competent than PLI group in both groups of idioms. In the visual task, both clinical groups chose less figurative meanings than control group, but they behaved similar between them. Data of this study states that idiomatic expressions challenge to all SLI population, as previous studies have shown. Opaque idioms must be as difficult as transparent ones to understand in this population.
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Difficulties in language development
Place: Room A-16

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