This proposal's broad objective is to examine how three different types of sentential information 1) words in carrier frames, 2) informative verbs and 3) informative adjectives, can influence speech comprehension and word learning in children (ages 24-36 mos) with normal language (NL) and who are late talking (LT) -a group at risk for later language impairment (Ll). Speech processing studies have found that children and adults make use of sentential information to interpret familiar words and learn new ones. Concurrently, research on children with Ll has uncovered a number of difficulties in rapidly interpreting words in sentences. This work indicates that at least some of the deficits exhibited by Ll children result from impairments in processing. However, a critically important question is if and how these factors influence word learning and recognition in younger children who are at risk for later Ll. Until now this has not been possible, because tasks that measure language processing in older children are not suitable to use with toddlers. Real-time measures of language comprehension are key to examining these questions, since they measure how language processes unfold in real-time. They reveal not only *if* LTs comprehend known and novel words, but *how* and *when* they are understood. I will therefore use an age-appropriate language processing measure- the """"""""Looking while listening"""""""" (LWL) procedure - to longitudinally examine the impact of three types of sentential information on familiar word recognition and novel word learning in NL and LT children. In addition, these studies will be the first to probe the relation between these language processing measures and language growth across the 3rd year. Experimental manipulations will examine the influence on processing of novel and familiar words that are: 1) in isolated contexts or sentences, 2) preceded by an informative verb or 3) by an informative adjective. These studies will examine the potential benefit of the examined conditions to LTs, and shed light on the nature of potential processing deficits that exist in this population, and clarify how these factors relate to vocabulary growth. Public health relevance: These studies examine a population at risk for later diagnosis with Ll, which is a deficit that can lead to serious academic and social consequences. A main goal of this work is to examine cues that may help to improve language comprehension and learning in this group, which may help mitigate the negative effects of continued language delay. As such, the findings will be highly relevant and informative to parents, educators, and clinicians who have an interest in helping this group catch up with their peers before they enter school.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Communication Disorders Review Committee (CDRC)
Program Officer
Cyr, Janet
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Stanford University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Borovsky, Arielle; Ellis, Erica M; Evans, Julia L et al. (2016) Lexical leverage: category knowledge boosts real-time novel word recognition in 2-year-olds. Dev Sci 19:918-932
Borovsky, Arielle; Ellis, Erica M; Evans, Julia L et al. (2016) Semantic Structure in Vocabulary Knowledge Interacts With Lexical and Sentence Processing in Infancy. Child Dev 87:1893-1908
Ellis, Erica M; Borovsky, Arielle; Elman, Jeffrey L et al. (2015) Novel word learning: An eye-tracking study. Are 18-month-old late talkers really different from their typical peers? J Commun Disord 58:143-57
Lieberman, Amy M; Borovsky, Arielle; Hatrak, Marla et al. (2015) Real-time processing of ASL signs: Delayed first language acquisition affects organization of the mental lexicon. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 41:1130-9
Borovsky, Arielle; Creel, Sarah C (2014) Children and adults integrate talker and verb information in online processing. Dev Psychol 50:1600-13
Borovsky, Arielle; Sweeney, Kim; Elman, Jeffrey L et al. (2014) Real-time interpretation of novel events across childhood. J Mem Lang 73:1-14
Borovsky, Arielle; Burns, Erin; Elman, Jeffrey L et al. (2013) Lexical activation during sentence comprehension in adolescents with history of Specific Language Impairment. J Commun Disord 46:413-27
Bion, Ricardo A H; Borovsky, Arielle; Fernald, Anne (2013) Fast mapping, slow learning: disambiguation of novel word-object mappings in relation to vocabulary learning at 18, 24, and 30months. Cognition 126:39-53
Borovsky, Arielle; Kutas, Marta; Elman, Jeffrey L (2013) Getting it right: word learning across the hemispheres. Neuropsychologia 51:825-37
Coady, Jeffry A; Mainela-Arnold, Elina; Evans, Julia L (2013) Phonological and lexical effects in verbal recall by children with specific language impairments. Int J Lang Commun Disord 48:144-59

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications