LINGUISTIC COMMUNICATION AND MENTAL RETARDATION

Project: Research project

Description

This project will investigate the development of linguistic
communication in moderately to mildly mentally retarded individuals
and nonretarded children. Particularly important in linguistic
communication is the expression and comprehension of speech acts.
A speech act is the social function (e.g., promising, asserting,
questioning) that a speaker intends his or her utterance to
perform. A speaker must choose a linguistic form for the speech
act planned on the basis of properties of to context and a listener
must decide what speech act the form heard conveys on the basis of
its linguistic properties and the context. Previous research
(e.g., Abbeduto, 1984, Abbeduto et al., 1986a) indicates that the
expression and comprehension of speech acts may be especially
problematic for mentally retarded people. One purpose of this
project is to continue investigating the problems mentally retarded
people have in expressing and understanding speech acts. The
questions addressed include (1) What types of contextual and
linguistic information are used to express and understand speech
acts? (2) Is the source of immature comprehension and expression
due to a lack of, or a failure to use, the requisite skills and
knowledge? (3) Do the same abilities and knowledge underly the
expression and the comprehension of speech acts? Studies of
comprehension are proposed in which the contextual and linguistic
properties available to subjects are varied in ways known to lead
competent listeners to different interpretations of target
sentences. Studies of expression are proposed in which the
contextual properties available to subjects are varied in ways that
lead competent speakers to select different linguistic forms for
their speech acts. Several methods for assessing the maturity of
speech act expression and comprehension will be employed. Retarded
individuals at the developmental levels of 5-, 7-, and 9-years will
be compared to nonretarded children matched to them on measures of
linguistic, social, and cognitive competence. Matching will be
achieved through a combination of subject selection and statistical
procedures. This will allow the extent of their impairment in
speech act skills to be determined and will aid in the search for
its causes. This project will also investigate retarded people's
knowledge of the information conveyed through language about their
social status and that of others. A failure to recognize the
status information contained in language will impair people's
acquisition of knowledge about the social system and their place
in it.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/871/31/17

Funding

  • National Institutes of Health: $185,881.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $537,773.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $197,202.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $533,279.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $584,381.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $569,465.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $495,501.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $509,862.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $498,095.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $516,736.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $554,513.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $191,457.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $530,410.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $184,432.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $116,837.00

Fingerprint

linguistics
communication
speech act
Down Syndrome
language
adolescent
comprehension
discourse
cognition
cognitive development
human being
social function
social cognition
performance
social system
maturity
ability
listener
determinants
linguistic competence

ASJC

  • Medicine(all)