[PS-2.86] Verb processing assessment in Specific Language Impairment

Pourquié, M. 1 , Royle, P. . 2, 3, 4 & St Denis, A. . 2

1 Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language
2 École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie, Université de Montréal
3 Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music
4 International Laboratory for Brain Music and Sound Research

Verb-argument structure has been reported to be a factor in verb processing difficulties in Specific Language Impairment (SLI). However, it is unclear whether these result from lexical or morpho-syntactic impairments. Furthermore, most studies reveal production deficits, and it is less clear whether verb comprehension difficulties also characterize this population. This is because comprehension tasks usually confuse semantic and morpho-syntactic processing, impeding the identification of errors (e.g. stimuli with overt subjects can be understood without having to decode subject-verb agreement). To address these issues, we developed three linguistic tasks (action naming, sentence production and sentence comprehension; 100 items), with varying verb argument structure. We also took advantage of French pronoun homophony (il/s boit/boivent [il bwa/bwav] ´he/they drink/s´) to test subject-verb agreement processing. We will present data collected from six French-speaking children with SLI and six typically developing children. Results for children with SLI show argument structure implementation deficits and comprehension errors. We argue the former are not epiphenomenal to lexical deficits and the latter can be considered as potential markers for French SLI. This study has an impact on clinical interventions for verb processing and fosters the development of on-line studies (ERP, eye-tracking) for comprehension deficits in SLI.