Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Bernard Grela, PhD

Associate Advisor

Emily Myers, PhD

Associate Advisor

Tammie Spaulding, PhD

Associate Advisor

Nicole Landi, PhD

Associate Advisor

Jonathan Preston, PhD

Field of Study

Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Event Related Potentials (ERP) recorded during infancy and early childhood have been used to

predict future language outcomes in children. Furthermore, there is recent evidence that

nonword repetition (NWR) can be used to identify language delay in toddlers. This investigation

assesses the relationships among ERP markers of sensitivity to phonemic stimuli, nonword

repetition, and language to determine if the aforementioned methodologies could improve

diagnostic measures for young children. Forty children between the ages of 24 to 48 months

participated in a series of behavioral speech and language measures including the mCDI-2, the

PLS-5, the GFTA-2 and conventional language sampling. ERPs were recorded during an “oldnew”

paradigm to examine sensitivity to phonological changes. A nonword repetition task was

also administered as a compliment to the ERP recordings to determine the independent and

combined contribution of phonological working memory in predicting language ability. Results

reveal that ERP markers of phonemic processing are strongly correlated with clinical

assessments and are able to predict language skill independently from nonword repetition. These

findings suggest that phonological sensitivity as measured by ERP and phonological working

memory as measured by nonword repetition have a fundamental yet distinct relationship to

general language ability in young children. Both clinical implications and fundamental questions

regarding the

underlying mechanisms of language disorders are addressed.

Archival abstract submitted