[en] specific language impairment ; analogical reasoning ; executive function ; language learning disabilities ; development
[en] Usage-based theory considers analogical reasoning as a cognitive process required in language development. We hypothesized that difficulties with analogical reasoning could hinder the abstraction of construction schemas, thus slowing down morphosyntactic development for children with specific language impairment (SLI). We also hypothesized, in accordance with usage-based theory, that the same analogy mechanism is shared by linguistic and non-linguistic processes. The current study investigated the performance of 15 children with SLI in comparison with age-matched peers on a nonlinguistic analogical reasoning task. Our experimental setting targeted two prerequisites of analogical reasoning: structural alignment and the discovery of relational similarity in comparison with perceptual similarity. The results obtained are compatible with our hypotheses according to which children with SLI would encounter problems building more abstract construction schemas, related to difficulties with analogical reasoning. The study also shows that children with SLI have specific cognitive difficulties regardless of their linguistic development.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS