Edited by Katherine Messenger
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 31] 2022
► pp. 203–224
Chapter 10Syntactic priming and language intervention for children with grammatical deficits
In this chapter, we discuss how insights from the syntactic priming literature might refine language intervention procedures for children with grammatical deficits. In turn, we note how current language intervention practices can suggest new areas of research on syntactic priming. Applications from syntactic priming to language intervention include consideration of the lexical content of the clinician’s input utterance relative to the child’s response, the timing between the input utterance and the response, and even the degree to which the input utterance is directed toward the child rather than to another participant in the conversation. Research on syntactic priming based on current language intervention practices can likewise cover a wide range. Some research questions concern priming effects as a function of the child’s level of grammar, such as whether a child’s utterances are first confined to the same thematic structure as the prime, only later becoming more abstract. Other questions pertain to the conversational role of the prime, such as whether a prime is just as effective if it was a recast of the child’s own prior utterance. It appears that each area – syntactic priming and language intervention – can benefit from the contributions of the other.
- The role of input in grammatical intervention with children
- Properties of syntactic priming applicable to intervention
- Frequency is crucial
- Abstract categories are appropriate targets
- Targets at the clause level are appropriate
- Separation between the child’s and adult’s use of the target structure is important
- Implicit learning as the ideal outcome
- Interpreting the “lexical boost”
- Listening to the target structure
- Acquiring the target structure through conversation
- Targeting less frequent structures
- Variations in the priming paradigm that are applicable to intervention
- Strengthening the adult form relative to its competitors
- The benefits of high lexical verb variability
- The use of paired priming
- Other variations of priming that are applicable to language intervention
- A research agenda for syntactic priming based on intervention practices
- How “under control” must the target structure be?
- Does feedback change the process?
- The source of the primes
- Does a progression from narrow to broad constitute a change in mechanisms?