By Michaela Nerantzini (University of Ioannina)
The team from University of Ioannina (UOI) recently presented some of their iRead research as the Language Disorders in Greek 7 Conference, which was held in Athens on 2-3 June 2018. The conference aims to bring together researchers working on development and acquired language disorders in Greek in order to inform research and clinical practice. Researchers and clinicians investigating language disorders theoretically and empirically on all linguistic areas (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) participated. For further information about the conference see their website: https://languagedisordersingreek7.wordpress.com
The UOI team presented some first data on the effect of linguistic complexity on reading/sentence comprehension by investigating novice readers and children with reading difficulties. We investigated factors such as movement, locality and structural ambiguity in syntactic phenomena like passive morphology in passivised, reflexive, anticausative and deponent verbs, embedding (relative, adverbial and complement clauses) and discourse anaphors, in combination with word order variations. Self-paced reading experiments were carried out on Greek children with reading difficulties (9-11 years old), age-matched children with no reading difficulties and 7-year-old beginning readers. Preliminary results have indicated that children with reading difficulties exhibit overall slower reading than age-matched controls and beginning readers. Additionally, they seem to face greater difficulties processing the critical regions of the test sentences (e.g. the passive verb or the by-phrase; the relative pronoun or the complementiser in complement clauses) by marking greater slow-downs in these regions compared to the rest of the sentence regions than the other two groups.
All the relevant work presented at this conference was about lexical level deficits in children with reading difficulties. We are now planning to submit one paper in a peer reviewed journal where we will discuss our findings from novice readers and children with reading difficulties and a second one where we will discuss adults’ performance while reading the constructions under investigation.
You can find the full slide deck in the dissemination section of our website: https://iread-project.eu/iread-presentations/