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Rev Neurol. 2006 Oct 10;43 Suppl 1:S201-8.

[Repetition of pseudo-words in Spanish children with specific language disorder: a psycholinguistic marker].

[Article in Spanish]

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Universidad de Navarra, 31080 Pamplona, Espana.



To analyze whether repetition of nonwords (NWR) is a good method to differentiate between Spanish-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI), children with normal language development (NL), and children with articulation disorder (AD), and to study whether phonological and syllabical characteristics, which are present in nonwords used in this task, are compatible with a SLI explanation on the basis of the temporal auditory limitation.


Eighteen 5- and 6-year-old children with NL, 19 with SLI, and 19 with AD, performed verbal tasks (principally, lexical and verbal memory tasks), and two NWR tasks: one is formed by four nonwords series with frequent syllables, in accordance with the analysis of syllable frequency in Spanish, and the other task is formed by nonwords with infrequent syllables.


Like in English, NWR is the best method to differentiate children with SLI and children with NL; yet children with a minor impairment, like AD, show deficits in this task. Therefore, this disorder could be considered as an 'intermediate zone' between NL and SLI. Then it seems that AD is not an unmixed impairment of production only, since in its origin there are difficulties linked with the formation of the phonological representations of the words.


With regard to syllable frequency, results do not support the explanation on the basis of temporal auditory limitation in Spanish. Results are discussed in relation to other explanations: general limitation of processing, with special incidence of the phonological working memory, and connectionist perspectives.

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