First Advisor

Rhea Paul

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech and Hearing Sciences


Speech and Hearing Sciences




Children -- Language, Memory in children



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, v, 62 p.)


Although there is agreement in the literature that memory is required for language, there is disagreement as to whether certain memory abilities are prerequisite for language. There has been a significant amount of research in the field of memory development as it relates to language; however, little research has been done in the area of memory and language development in the preschool aged child. This study examined two aspects of auditory memory and language development in the preschool child: (a) the auditory memory abilities of delayed language children versus normal language children, and (b) determining if there is a relationship between auditory memory and language development. The subjects used in this study included 14 ''normal talkers" and 14 children with "slow expressive language development'' (SELD), as determined by the Language Development Survey (Rescorla, 1989) given when the subjects were between 24-34 months of age. When the subjects were 3 years-old they were given the verbal and digit imitation section of the Preschool Language Scale (PLS) as a measure of auditory short-term memory. The results were compared with the Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language-Revised (TACL-R), the Developmental Sentence Scoring (DSS) and the Northwestern Syntax Screening Test (NSST-E) all given at age three. A further comparison was made with the PLS and the Test of Language Development-Primary (TOLD-P) and the DSSJ given at age 4. The Spearman rank correlational statistic was used to determine if a significant relationship existed between memory and language development as seen on the PLS (age 3) and the other language measures given at ages 3 and 4. This study showed that SELD children performed more poorly on verbal and digit memory tasks than their normally speaking peers. Correlational analysis revealed that the PLS-Digit and the PLS-Sentence memory recall tasks were significantly correlated with the DSS given at the same point in time for the normal group, and between the PLS-Sentence and the NSST-E given at the same time for the SELD group. This suggests that a relationship exists between memory and expressive language at the same point in development. Because the relationship exists at the same time, and not across-ages, these findings seem to support the theory that language and memory are related in development, but memory skills at one time do not predict language skills at another. As language and memory seem to be related at the same point in time, testing auditory short-term memory skills in children with language delays will not add new information above what is learned in language testing itself. Further research in this area might investigate whether, as some literature suggests (Kail, 1990), teaching memory strategies to young children with language delays may improve language learning.


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