SRCLD Presentation Details
The integration of motor factors into accounts of normal and disordered language development
Lisa Goffman -
Most theories of normal and disordered language acquisition focus almost entirely on cognitive-linguistic factors. However, language is expressed through movement, and deficits in motor skill have been implicated in children with specific language impairment (SLI), as well as in other cognitive-linguistic disorders. Current neurophysiological and behavioral hypotheses about relations between language, perception, and action further support a rethinking of how language and motor domains interact in normal and disordered development. The major objective of my research program is to provide an empirical foundation for understanding both normal and impaired language development, one that incorporates findings about language and motor processes, especially as they apply to learning. To this end, in my laboratory we use a combination of methodologies from linguistics and physiology. We record physiological signals (e.g., movement, muscle activity) while children produce words or sentences or engage in manual motor activity. These physiological measures inform standard transcription-based analyses. This talk will concentrate on two groups of studies. In the first, I will present findings that incorporate methodologies from speech motor control and from psycholinguistics to assess how grammatical, lexical, and phonological processing levels of production are linked to articulatory output. I will then turn to findings regarding speech and generalized motor deficits that have been identified in children with SLI. The observed interactivity between language and motor processing has significant implications for theoretical accounts of language production and for designing intervention programs for children with language impairments. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Deafness and other Communicative Disorders) grant DC04826.
for author biosketch