Understanding SLI: A Neuropsychological Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter considers some of the basic themes in this book--exclusionary criteria as part of the definition of specific language impairment (SLI), the nature of the linguistic deficits found in SLI--in light of other types of cognitive disorders. The first part of this chapter studies SLI from the point of view of brain research. It starts out with current beliefs about the specificity of brain mechanisms subserving grammatical processing, and asks what these views may entail with respect to SLI. It is suggested that such beliefs predict the existence of selective deficits in grammatical processing in some children, but do not require that SLI is defined by exclusionary data. The second part takes the opposite approach, namely, it looks at brain research from the viewpoint of the linguistic behavior of people with SLI. It asks what current clinical markers of SLI mean with regard to the brain basis of grammatical processing. Three general similarities between clinical markers of SLI and acquired grammatical impairment are noted. Based on this discussion, it is suggested that the question of separate syntactic and phonological subtypes of SLI may have implications for the understanding of grammatical processing in the brain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationLanguage Competence Across Populations: Toward a Definition of Specific Language Impairment
EditorsYonata Levy, Jeannette Schaeffer
Place of PublicationMahwah, NJ
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)0805839992
StatePublished - 2002


  • Brain
  • Language Disorders
  • Linguistics
  • Specific Language Impairment
  • Biological Markers
  • Illumination
  • Language
  • Morphology (Language)
  • Syntax


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