How Language Is Embodied in Bilinguals and Children with Specific Language Impairment

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This manuscript explores the role of embodied views of language comprehension and production in bilingualism and specific language impairment. Reconceptualizing popular models of bilingual language processing, the embodied theory is

This manuscript explores the role of embodied views of language comprehension and production in bilingualism and specific language impairment. Reconceptualizing popular models of bilingual language processing, the embodied theory is first extended to this area. Issues such as semantic grounding in a second language and potential differences between early and late acquisition of a second language are discussed. Predictions are made about how this theory informs novel ways of thinking about teaching a second language. Secondly, the comorbidity of speech, language, and motor impairments and how embodiment theory informs the discussion of the etiology of these impairments is examined. A hypothesis is presented suggesting that what is often referred to as specific language impairment may not be so specific due to widespread subclinical motor deficits in this population. Predictions are made about how weaknesses and instabilities in speech motor control, even at a subclinical level, may disrupt the neural network that connects acoustic input, articulatory motor plans, and semantics. Finally, I make predictions about how this information informs clinical practice for professionals such as speech language pathologists and occupational and physical therapists. These new hypotheses are placed within the larger framework of the body of work pertaining to semantic grounding, action-based language acquisition, and action-perception links that underlie language learning and conceptual grounding.