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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Commun Sci Disord. 2009;14(2): 147-159.
Mildly Mental Retarded Children’s Metalinguistic Ability
Cha-Sook Choi` , and Yaelin Choi`
Copyright ©2009 The Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
최자숙(Cha-Sook Choi)| 최예린(Yaelin Choi)
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ABSTRACT

Background & Objectives
Mentally retarded children suffer from language development problems connected with metalinguistic abilities. They present with improper responses to selected vocabulary words and often fail to grasp verbal humor. The purpose of this study was to investigate the metalinguistic abilities of 15 eight-year-olds with mild mental retardation, as compared to 15 language age-matched (i.e., five-year-old) children without developmental disabilities, and 15 chronological age-matched children without developmental disabilities
Methods
The evaluation consisted of test items containing errors, the detection of which requires phonological competence, semantic competence, an understanding of syntactic structure and pragmatic competence. The children were asked to judge whether each sentence was correct or incorrect, and were asked to correct any errors they found. The metalinguistic abilities of the three groups were compared by one-way ANOVA, and a development ratio was determined after both a language and picture visual condition were provided.
Results
The metalinguistic ability of the mentally retarded children was significantly lower than that of the normal groups. In the areas of phonological and semantic competence, the scores of mentally retarded children were lower than those of the two normal groups. In the area of syntactic structure, both mentally retarded children and language age-matched children performed less competently. When correct sentences were presented, all three groups answered correctly. The children’s error awareness and ability to make corrections in two kinds of stimulations indicated that all groups improved in the components of metalinguistic ability: phonological and semantic competence, and syntactic structure.
Discussion & Conclusion
There are few studies on metalinguistic ability, and this study focused on the metalinguistic ability of mentally retarded children. It was concluded that the metalinguistic abilities of mentally retarded children were less developed than those of children with a similar level of language development.
Keywords: 경도 정신지체 | 상위언어능력 | 언어자극 | 그림 시각자극 mildly mentally retarded | metalinguistic ability | language condition | picture visual condition
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