Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Lisa Archibald


The ability to learn language is influenced both by children's biological abilities and the environment in which they find themselves. Rather than low test scores alone, it may be that children who exhibit disproportionately low language abilities relative to what would be predicted from their biological abilities and expectations based on their environmental situations may be considered to exhibit a specific language impairment. The present study explores this hypothesis by taking measures aimed at estimating 45 children’s biological potential through direct measures o f parental abilities and environmental situations and examining the ability of these measures to predict children’s language abilities. Predictors were based on parental measures of nonword repetition, nonverbal intelligence, working memory, sentence recall, grammaticality judgment, reading, and family environment. The findings of this study show a myriad of variables affect language development from both biological and environmental factors, implying that learning language involves the interplay between children’s innate makeup and their environmental conditions.



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