The communicative competence of mildly retarded adults

Leonard J Abbeduto, S. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This study examined the communicative behavior of mildly retarded adults engaged in conversation with peers. Contemporary models of pragmatic interaction were applied to samples of triadic naturally occurring conversation. The subjects made few errors in turn-taking; moreover, the rule system involved was consistent with that posited for nonretarded adults. They recognized those illocutionary acts that obligated them to respond as well as the specific responses required. That they were actively involved in information exchange was indicated by the observation that the majority of their turns were responses to the preceding turns of others, even when under no obligation to respond. Invidual differences on most measures were observed, and the measures appeared related to each other, but not to IQ. Unexpectedly, the subjects produced few indirect speech acts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-426
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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