Understanding and production of prosody in children with Williams syndrome: A developmental trajectory approach
Stojanovik, V. (2010) Understanding and production of prosody in children with Williams syndrome: A developmental trajectory approach. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 23 (2). pp. 112-126. ISSN 0911-6044
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2009.11.001
This study investigated the development of three aspects of linguistic prosody in a group of children with Williams syndrome compared to typically developing children. The prosodic abilities investigated were: (1) the ability to understand and use prosody to make specific words or syllables stand out in an utterance (focus); (2) the ability to understand and use prosody to disambiguate complex noun phrases (chunking); (3) the ability to understand and use prosody to regulate conversational behaviour (turn-end). The data were analysed using a cross-sectional developmental trajectory approach. The results showed that, relative to chronological age, there was a delayed onset in the development of the ability of children with WS to use prosody to signal the most important word in an utterance (the focus function). Delayed rate of development was found for all the other aspects of expressive and receptive prosody under investigation. However, when non-verbal mental age was taken into consideration, there were no differences between the children with WS and the controls neither with the onset nor with the rate of development for any of the prosodic skills under investigation apart from the ability to use prosody in order to regulate conversational behaviour. We conclude that prosody is not a ‘preserved’ cognitive skill in WS. The genetic factors, development in other cognitive domains and environmental influences affect developmental pathways and as a result, development proceeds along an atypical trajectory.
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