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May I Quote You on That?

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Academic Paper

Title: Preschool-aged children have difficulty constructing and interpreting simple utterances composed of graphic symbols
Author: Ann Sutton
Institution: University of Ottawa
Author: Natacha Trudeau
Institution: Université de Montréal
Author: Jill P. Morford
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of New Mexico
Author: Monica Rios
Institution: Université de Montréal
Author: Marie-Andree Poirier
Institution: Université de Montréal
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: Children who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems while they are in the process of acquiring language face unique challenges because they use graphic symbols for communication. In contrast to the situation of typically developing children, they use different modalities for comprehension (auditory) and expression (visual). This study explored the ability of three- and four-year-old children without disabilities to perform tasks involving sequences of graphic symbols. Thirty participants were asked to transpose spoken simple sentences into graphic symbols by selecting individual symbols corresponding to the spoken words, and to interpret graphic symbol utterances by selecting one of four photographs corresponding to a sequence of three graphic symbols. The results showed that these were not simple tasks for the participants, and few of them performed in the expected manner – only one in transposition, and only one-third of participants in interpretation. Individual response strategies in some cases lead to contrasting response patterns. Children at this age level have not yet developed the skills required to deal with graphic symbols even though they have mastered the corresponding spoken language structures.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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