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Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Reyna Gordon

Tuesday, August 26, 2014,

  • Location: Wilson Hall • 111 21St Ave S • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 316

Reyna Gordon, Department of Otolaryngology & Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt School of Medicine

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

"Who's got rhythm? The surprising link between rhythm and grammar in typical and atypical language development"

Children with grammatical deficits have been reported to show a number of difficulties with linguistic and musical rhythm, such as impairment when using speech rhythm cues to disambiguate syntax or tapping to the beat in music. In addition, data from typical developed adults has shown that the timing of sentences influences syntactic processing. The literature therefore suggests an association between rhythm and grammar, and possible shared underlying brain resources, that have been little studied in children with typical language development. Our study examined the link between musical rhythm perception and linguistic grammar production in six-year-old children with typical language and found a robust association between these seemingly different abilities. Preliminary findings using the same paradigms on children with language impairment will also be discussed. A series of follow-up studies is planned to better understand the mechanisms underlying the association, as well as the potential for music training to improve grammar skills.