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Grammatical comprehension in developmental semantic-pragmatic disorder


This is a clinical case study of 105 children; 35 children demonstrated ‘semantic-pragmatic’ type of specific language impairment, 35 children presented with delayed language development due to mental retardation, and 35 children with normal language development. In contrast to the disturbances of linguistic form that characterize the most frequently reported type of specific language impairment, the semantic-pragmatic disorder is characterized mostly by ‘inappropriate’ language use. A cognitive explanation has been proposed, which accounts for all instances of inappropriate language thus far studied in this population. An expressive linguistic explanation has also been proposed, which accounts for some instances of inappropriate language. This study investigates the possibility that a receptive linguistic explanation can account for inappropriate responses to questions. A linguistic explanation with receptive and expressive components could account for some of the semantic-pragmatic behaviors previously accounted for by the cognitive explanation. To test this proposal, the linguistic profiles of all children were examined using the Arabic language test. The results indicate that grammatical comprehension was impaired in about 45.7% of the children examined. Therefore, instances of inappropriate language use that appear to express disordered concepts may reflect receptive linguistic deficits instead.


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Correspondence to Sally T. Kheir El-Din MD.

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None declared.

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Kheir El-Din, S.T., Sallam, Y. Grammatical comprehension in developmental semantic-pragmatic disorder. Egypt J Otolaryngol 31, 176–179 (2015).

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  • syntactic comprehension
  • receptive linguistic deficit
  • semantic-pragmatic specific language impairment