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Neuroconstructivism Volume TwoPerspectives and Prospects$
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Denis Mareschal, Sylvain Sirois, Gert Westermann, and Mark H. Johnson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198529934

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529934.001.0001

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Phonological deficits and developmental language impairments: evidence from connectionist models

Phonological deficits and developmental language impairments: evidence from connectionist models

Chapter:
(p.205) Chapter 9 Phonological deficits and developmental language impairments: evidence from connectionist models
Source:
Neuroconstructivism Volume Two
Author(s):

Marc F. Joanisse

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529934.003.0009

This chapter examines what might be some of the causes of the language impairments observed in children with specific language impairments (SLI). These are children who appear to function in the normal range on a broad range of cognitive tasks, but who have very poor language skills. One alternate hypothesis holds that such children have subtle impairments in the detection or processing of very low-level auditory features. The chapter argues that these low-level deficits, coupled with the fact that language acquisition is a cumulative developmental process, are the real causes of these language impairments. Neural network models can be used to illustrate how early low-level auditory processing deficits can lead to specific syntactic deficits in later development. From the neuroconstructivist perspective, the important conclusion here is that high-level cognitive abilities are constrained by the low-level input constraints of the body.

Keywords:   SLI, language impairments, connectionist models, phonological deficits, grammar deficit, syntax deficit

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