You are a close professional associate of any of the authors (e.g. The information that you give us will be displayed next to your comment. However, we also expected to be able to drop one predictor, depending on the results of our first analysis. Choose the reviewer report you wish to read and click the 'read' link. Total scores were calculated for each child and for each construction type. Within the past 4 years, you have held joint grants, published or collaborated with any of the authors of the selected paper. Email or password not correct. The points represent the raw data (jittered horizontally), the bars show the means, with the surrounding rectangle showing the Bayesian 95% Highest Density Interval for the mean. On one day they might acquire ten new words, but the next day they may learn only one. (2002) coupled with the fact that receptive language is usually superior to expressive, in this population (Chapman et al., 2002; Laws & Bishop, 2003). Descriptive analysis of different clause types. The effect number of predictors would therefore be four, with a required total sample size of 86. The literature regarding syntactic comprehension appears to be more homogenous with the majority of studies showing that those with DS have a lower than expected understanding of syntax relative to their non-verbal cognitive skills (Abbeduto et al., 2003; Chapman et al., 1991; Joffe & Varlokosta, 2009; Laws & Bishop, 2003; Price et al., 2007; Rosin et al., 1988). If applicable, is the statistical analysis and its interpretation appropriate? Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. A strong relationship between memory and syntax has also emerged. In addition to the studies that have used the TROG-2 as their measure of receptive language, there have also been two studies using the TACL-R (Carrow-Woolfolk, 1985) comparing people with DS with those with CI of a different aetiology. For our main hypothesis, the best estimate of effect size came from prior studies that compared those with Down syndrome to TD controls on composite measures of syntactic comprehension. Our qualitative analysis revealed that of the three complex clause types, children with DS performed best on relative clauses, while their understanding of all types of adverbial and complement clauses was at floor. In our second hypothesis, we predicted that children with DS would perform more poorly overall than TD children matched on non-verbal mental age but at a similar level to those with cognitive impairment of unknown origin. Expository discourse, the use of language to convey information, requires facility with complex syntax. scientific mentor, recent student). Memory assessments. Forward digit recall task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/N9WMQ (Duta, 2018a), Backward digit recall task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/B5N79 (Duta, 2018b), Visuo-spatial memory task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/RVDXU (Duta, 2018c), TECS-E complex syntax comprehension task, DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/AN7S2 (Duta & Frizelle, 2018d). For the current study, we used a novel method of assessment, designed to minimize non-linguistic demands. Regarding adverbial clauses, the non-match items for those that were temporal were shown in the order of the events depicted (before/after). 1) Internal consistency of TECS-E was calculated to give an index of reliability. Based on previous results from 3- to 5-year-old TD children, using this type of task, we hypothesised that children with DS would be able to perform above chance in their understanding of a range of complex sentences. In terms of development, the complex … 1998. These utterances were also coded as complex sentence attempts so that they could be examined separately from the grammatical and complete utterances. In this longitudinal study Loban tracked a sample of 338 children from ages 5 through 18 starting in 1953 (211 ended up staying in the study until the end). Our third prediction was that children with Down syndrome would have greater difficulty understanding comparable constructions on the TROG-2 (a multiple-choice comprehension task), than on TECS-E. PF conceived the study idea, designed the assessment tool and hypotheses, and wrote the manuscript, MD developed the software for the application assessment task TECS-E and the memory assessment tasks, PT developed scripts for power analysis and other aspects of the analysis, DB helped to develop the idea and the assessment tool, designed hypotheses, and reviewed the manuscript. Syntactic development is measured using MLU, or mean length of utterance, which is basically the average length of a child’s sentence; this increases as a child gets older. This study examined changes in the complex syntax production of 85 3- and 4-year-old African American children and the role of child (i.e., gender, age, African American English) and family (i.e., home environment) factors. Required. They can now be found at the top of the panel on the right, linked from the box entitled Open Peer Review. Default 0. Frizelle P, Thompson PA, Duta M and Bishop DVM. 2) Those with DS will perform more poorly overall than TD controls but at a similar level to those with cognitive impairment of unknown origin. This study examines the emergence of complex syntax in interlanguage (IL) development through a functionalist analysis of longitudinal, conversational IL … This testing took place in the same room used for the language assessments. As before, mental age was entered into the model first to control for its effect. The design of those that do not match was dependant on the structure being assessed. Discussion: If rich linguistic inputs are not available for children during the critical period of the first language acquisition, the syntactic skill, especially in complex syntactic constructions, will not normally develop. The purpose of the current article is to investigate the comprehension of complex syntactic constructions, including relative clauses, complement clauses (that serve as the object of the main clause), and adverbial clauses in children with Down syndrome by considering how memory and hearing ability influence the processing of these grammatical structures. A longitudinal study traced the development of the understanding of false belief and various measures of spontaneous language production and comprehension over the course of one year. Therefore, by applying the discontinue rule, if a given number of items are failed, children will not be tested on complex sentences. With the exception of subject intransitive relatives, children with DS had significant difficulty understanding all other relative clause types. Chapman et al. A number representing the imaginary part of the complex number. Supplementary File 1. Solid syntactic skills require an understanding and use of correct word order and organization in phrases and sentences and also the ability to use increasingly complex sentences as language develops. The girl sang and the woman shrieked because they were excited. For the adverbial because, non-match items were represented by depicting the event as it was described by both verbs, but not causally (e.g. We know that for typical language learners complex syntax production emerges shortly after children begin to combine words and development proceeds rapidly across the preschool years… Both studies report similar findings to those in the current study, whereby those with DS performed more poorly than those with CI of unknown aetiology (Chapman, 2006) and those with Fragile X syndrome (Abbeduto et al., 2003). The 40 animations represented one of 5 types of relative clause, 32 animations depicted 4 sentential complements, 32 animations represented four adverbial clauses and there were 10 catch items. To investigate this, we conducted a hierarchical linear regression analysis using likelihood ratio tests. Their performance on adverbial and complement clauses was at floor (ranging from 0–12% of children passing these constructions). for the sentence If the gate was open the horse could walk away the animation showed that the horse was tied up so that even if the gate was open he could not walk away). for the sentence The girl cried because the boy pushed her, the animation showed a girl who was initially crying but then stopped before the boy pushed her). The mean percentage of utterances containing one or more complex syntax forms was 6.2% at 3 years and 11.7% at 4 years. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.14861.2, https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.14861.1, See the authors' detailed response to the review by Nicola Botting, See the authors' detailed response to the review by Vesna Stojanovik, See the authors' detailed response to the review by Christopher Jarrold and Nikolitsa Stathopoulou, CC-BY Attribution 4.0 International license, https://doi.org/10.21956/wellcomeopenres.16196.r34191, https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/3-140/v1#referee-response-34191, https://doi.org/10.21956/wellcomeopenres.16196.r34208, https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/3-140/v1#referee-response-34208, https://doi.org/10.21956/wellcomeopenres.16196.r34171, https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/3-140/v1#referee-response-34171, A Table labelling error with respect to examples of sentences used in TECS-E, An expansion of the literature review to include work by Christodoulou and Grohmann (2018), More discussion of the ‘yes ‘ bias in children’s responses, Clarification regarding when we refer to mental age we are referring to a non-verbal measure, Clarification regarding: 1) the use of visuo-spatial STM in the method as a positive control; 2) the complexities involved in working memory; and 3) how we have used the backward digit span task. The current project examines global text structure, syntactic measures (word order, subordination, and coordination) and morpho-lexicon in two text genres – informative and expository – produced by children, adolescents, and adults with different linguistic proficiencies. imaginary: Optional. This result is consistent with previous findings (see Finestack et al., 2013; Joffe & Varlokosta, 2009; Laws & Bishop, 2003; Pennington et al., 2003; Price et al., 2007; Rosin et al., 1988). Given the additional executive demands of multiple-choice comprehension tasks (Frizelle et al., 2017) we anticipated that this would be the case. All commenters must hold a formal affiliation as per our Policies. However, we also note that a high ‘yes’ bias could be a consequence rather than a cause of poor performance. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/X6UNE (Frizelle et al., 2018b). You can also read all the peer review reports by downloading the PDF. We predicted correlations of comprehension scores with all three variables, though performance on particular clause types would differ, as discussed above. Complement clause animations depict think/not think (the non-match item showing that the person in the animation has seen what has happened), know/not know (the non-match item showing that the person has not seen what has happened), pretend/not pretend (the non-match item showing that the person is using the object for what it is intended) and wish/not wish (the non-match item showing that the person already has the desired object). Learners of a language must know how to arrange words that they know to make a sentence. (2017). Complex syntax. Although not specific to complex syntax, a recent study by Witecy & Penke (2017) found that receptive syntactic growth in those with DS continues through childhood into adolescence. You work at the same institute as any of the authors. each relative clause type, complement taking verb and adverbial clause, to avoid tiring children while testing a range of structures. It accounted for 6% of the variance in TROG-2 score (r2 = 0.06 p = 0.009). Predictors of performance on the TECS-E sentence verification task. In order to rule out this possibility, we would need a comparison task with the same yes/no format, but where we were confident that the children understood the items. 5) Cognitive, verbal and working memory abilities will account for more variance on the multiple-choice than on the animation task. When comparing success rates on different construction types, a score of 7 or 8 out of 8 items correct was scored as a ‘pass’ and a score lower than this as a ‘fail’. Participants were tested at 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz. In our approach, the syntactic relations of dependency between words have been represented as networks. References. In addition, DS status made an independent contribution to children’s performance, showing that children’s understanding of complex sentences was not completely explained by poor memory skills. The total number of passes achieved for both ears on all tested frequencies, was calculated as the hearing status variable. We expected to replicate the finding that participants with Down syndrome have poor verbal short-term memory but preserved visuo-spatial memory relative to mental-age-matched controls (Jarrold & Baddeley, 2010). 2 One word stage . There are three distinct types of subordinate clause; complement clauses, adverbial clauses and relative clauses, and all three are the focus of the current paper. The real number can also be a String, like this '3+5j', when this is the case, the second parameter should be omitted. The five types included subject (transitive and intransitive), object, indirect object and oblique. Children were simultaneously presented with each animation and a pre-recorded sentence orally. Please confirm that you accept the User Comment Terms and Conditions. Language development shifts in the teen years from basic grammar mastery to the use of language on a higher level. Based on data from TECS-E with TD children aged from 3;06 to 5 years (see Frizelle et al., 2018a) we anticipated an order of difficulty within each family of constructions (relative, complement and adverbial). It is therefore likely that the participants were not tested on many complex sentences. The former is the more typical way that items are measured on span tests. The complement clause can therefore be the subject, object or indirect object of the main verb. Individuals with DS have been reported to produce fewer complex noun phrases, verb phrases, sentence structures, questions and negations than TD individuals of a similar non-verbal age (Price et al., 2008). Language has been argued to exhibit a complex system behavior. It is, accordingly, not possible to tease out the potential contribution of the complex constructions included in these tests to the scores achieved. DB and PT are funded by the Wellcome Trust (082498). Digit recall involves immediately recalling a series of numbers in the order they were presented and is considered a measure of verbal short-term memory. Finally we considered how far comprehension difficulties in those with DS were associated with cognitive ability, verbal short-term or working memory abilities and hearing thresholds, and whether these associations differed according to the assessment format used. However, information regarding these children’s understanding of complex syntax is very limited. It is not permitted to re-use them in any profit making endeavor. John had significant issues with syntax and grammar and I needed to back up and address those issues before he could benefit from high-level comprehension strategies. User comments must be in English, comprehensible and relevant to the article under discussion. In this paper we are concerned with complements that serve as the object of the main clause. In our final hypothesis we predicted that cognitive and verbal memory abilities would account for more variance on the multiple-choice than on the sentence verification animated task. An analysis of Table 6 shows that within each type of complex sentence (relative, adverbial, complement), all three groups performed best on relative clauses, while children’s performance on adverbial and complement clauses was similar within each group. Our result is somewhat surprising given the complex syntactic expressive data reported on by Thordardottir et al. The animations were shown in one of two standard random orders (forward/backward) to control for order effects. These struc-tures occur relatively infrequently in spoken language, but when students use them in written language, it indicates they have achieved more advanced levels of gram-mar. In relation to the factors that would predict performance in children’s ability to understand complex sentences, our results, for the most part, are in line with what we predicted. Object relatives were discourse relevant in that they had an inanimate head noun and a pronominal subject (see Kidd et al., 2007). You registered with F1000 via Google, so we cannot reset your password. To test this prediction, we carried out a parallel regression analysis using the same independent variables as those previously described, but using TROG-2 raw score as the dependant variable. In adverbial constructions the two clauses are linked semantically, most commonly using temporal (e.g. If you are a previous or current Wellcome grant holder, sign up for information about developments, publishing and publications from Wellcome Open Research. Complex syntax attempts were coded under the appropriate category for syntactic structure. Home » Current projects » Development of complex syntax resources, Chief Scientist – Ministry of Education Grant # 0607015371, Development of complex syntax resources: A psycholinguistic study in schoolage children with different linguistic proficiencies. intermediate-level learners of Spanish. All test sentences were pre-recorded by a native female English speaker. Here we could not make a statistical comparison as children with DS performed at floor on the TROG-2. A key question was whether the prediction of TROG-2 scores by the mental age and memory measures was better than prediction of TECS-E scores: to check this, we calculated the 95% confidence interval around the R2 values. Responses were stored and scored automatically on the tablet. Is the work clearly and accurately presented and does it cite the current literature? We also examined how children performed on TECS-E relative to a standardized test of grammar using the multiple-choice format. (2013), DS versus Fragile X; Joffe & Varlokosta (2009), DS versus William syndrome, and Laws & Bishop (2003), DS versus SLI, have reported a similar performance between each group pair. This is because the written mode of expression occupies a privileged cognitive position for maturely literate individuals, involving the ability to control and shape the flow of information in discourse through linguistic means, while viewing the text as a whole. 3) Multiple regression analysis was used, in which total score on the sentence verification task was the dependent variable, and intellectual level (impaired/unimpaired) was the predictor variable. This allowed us to document the order of difficulty of the different complex sentence types in the three groups and to consider if the relative clauses followed the same rank ordering as was observed in our prior study of TD 3- to 5-year-olds (Frizelle et al., 2018a). A comparison of those with DS and the two control groups (matched on non-verbal mental age). By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. The Cork Teaching Hospitals Ethics Committee granted ethical approval for the study (ECM 4-07/10/14). 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