Original Research

The comprehension of deictic terms in normal and language impaired children

Michelle Mentis
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 28, No 1 | a356 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v28i1.356 | © 1981 Michelle Mentis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 November 1981 | Published: 11 November 1981

About the author(s)

Michelle Mentis, Department Speech Therapy and Audiology, Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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This study examined the comprehension of four pairs of deictic terms in a group of language impaired children and compared their interpretation of these terms with those of non-language impaired children of the same age range. Each group was comprised of ten subjects within the age range of 9,6 to 10,6 years. Two tasks were administered, one to assess the comprehension of the terms here, there, this, and that and the other to assess the comprehension of the terms, come, go, bring and take. The results showed that while the non-language impaired subjects comprehended the full deictic contrast between the pairs of terms tested, the language impaired group did not. A qualitative analysis of the data revealed that the language impaired subjects appeared to follow the same developmental sequence as normal children in their acquisition of these terms and responded by using the same strategies that younger non-language impaired children use at equivalent stages of development. Furthermore, the language impaired subjects appeared to comprehend the deictic terms in a predictable order based on their relative semantic complexity.


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