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Lifespan CognitionMechanisms of Change$
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Ellen Bialystok and Fergus I. M. Craik

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

Language in Adulthood

Language in Adulthood

(p.223) 15 Language in Adulthood
Lifespan Cognition

Susan Kemper

Oxford University Press

It is tempting to postulate that language development across the lifespan is U-shaped such that language “regression” mirrors language acquisition. Typically, this regression hypothesis is put forth to account for aphasic disorders and has also been applied to language loss with regard to the discontinued use of a first language and the decline of language in dementia. Both strong and weak forms of the regression hypothesis are proposed: the strong form holds that language regression is the mirror image of language acquisition at all levels of analysis, whereas the weak form suggests parallels while acknowledging different mechanisms or principles. Within the cognitive aging framework, there has been an emphasis on four contrasting accounts of age-related changes to language: cognitive slowing, inhibitory deficits, the effects of working-memory limitations, and language-specific effects on word retrieval. This chapter considers each account with regard to a salient phenomenon: older adults' use of simplified speech register resulting from an age-related decline in the syntactic complexity of oral and written language.

Keywords:   language development, older adults, speech register, language acquisition, regression hypothesis, dementia, aphasic disorders, language regression, language, cognitive aging

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