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Acquisition and cognition 2007

Themes and actions

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The development of grammatical morphology in children with cochlear implants

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Scientific framework and objectives

The work undertaken in this project is intended to contribute to rehabilitation programs used with young congenitally deaf children with cochlear implants. We hold that any intervention procedure must be informed by detailed analyses of the production of implanted children, observed in spontaneous production. To this end, we have concentrated our efforts on aspects of the development of grammatical morphology, in particular clitics and determiners in 20 deaf children implanted between 2;0 and 3;0.


Much work has uncovered the role of phonological patterns in the early acquisition of grammatical categories and argues that input contains sufficient information for the extraction of syntactic and semantic units. A fundamental opposition exists between lexical morphology and grammatical morphology, with grammatical morphology being perceptually non salient. Logically and developmentally, perceptual analysis precedes syntactic and semantic analysis of the input. Hearing children enter this second stage of analysis buttressed with many months of perceptual experience. A deaf implanted child is deprived of these early months of experience with spoken language. The acquisition of determiners and clitics is an essential developmental step in the acquisition of French. They control a wide variety of structures in spoken French (gender agreement, subject-verb agreement, traces of dislocation). Despite the fact that these elements are prosodified with the following noun or verb, and that it is this second element which carries vowel lengthening, young French-speaking children acquire the perceptually non salient determiners and clitics early on. The goal of our study is to trace the evolution of these elements in profoundly deaf implanted children.

  Financial support
  • Programme Cognitique

    Laboratoire Cognition et Développement UMR 8605

  • Hilaire, G., Regol, V., Jisa, H., 2002, "Développement morpho-phonologique de deux enfants en train d'acquérir le français après un implant cochléaire", actes de XXIVèmes Journées d'Etude sur la Parole, Nancy , France, 24-27 juin 2002, pp. 201-204

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