Language and Linguistics Seminar Series: Week 4 with Dr Helen Goodluck, University of York

"In defence of the delayed-but-not-deficient view of language in persons with Down Syndrome"

  • Thu 24 Oct 19

    12:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr Helen Goodluck, University of York

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Language and Linguistics Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Language and Linguistics, Department of

  • Contact details

    Professor Peter Patrick

In week 4, Dr Helen Goodluck, University of York joins us to talk about their recent research.

12-1pm Dr Helen Goodluck will take to the stage to deliver their talk, followed by a lunch provided by Language and Linguistics from 1pm-2pm.

We look forward to seeing you there: this event is open to all students and staff! 


There are two parts to the talk.  In the first part, I report a study of 25 persons with Down Syndrome who could read at the sentence level.  The participants were aged between 9 years and 25 at the first testing.  The tests used were act-out of aurally presented sentences, and choice between two answers to written stimuli, for sentences that develop at different rates for typically developing children (simple active vs. passive sentences, the control of tell complements, eager vs. easy, and the control of temporal adjuncts).  The overall pattern of responses supports the delayed-but-not-deviant view of language in persons with DS. 

In the second part, I report follow up tests that tackle the interpretation of definite pronouns vs. reflexive pronouns.  In typically developing children, definite pronouns have been found to be more error-prone than reflexives.  The opposite pattern was reported in two studies of persons with DS by Perovic (2006) and Ring & Clahsen (2005).  We tested 8 of our original DS participants and found the same pattern as typically developing children;  the same was true in two additional follow ups.  I discuss the possible sources of the difference between our results and those of Perovic and Ring & Clahsen.




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