We examined word associations in Swedish children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) compared to their typically developing (TD) peers. Furthermore, the study aimed to explore the dimensions of vocabulary knowledge (breadth, depth, and fluency) in these children. Fifty children (15 DLD and 35 TD) participated in the study, aged six to nine years. This age span is commonly associated with substantial lexical reorganisation, by some referred to as the syntagmatic-paradigmatic shift. Fifty items from the Kent-Rosanoff list were used to elicit word associations (say the first word that comes to mind). Word associations were coded as paradigmatic (lion-tiger), syntagmatic (chair-sit), phonological (moon-poon), and other/no answer (foot-hello/bed- -). A semantic depth score (paradigmatic and syntagmatic associations) was calculated and analysed. The children with DLD showed significantly lower semantic depth scores than their TD peers, in line with previous research in English-speaking children. However, the vocabulary dimensions were uniformly affected for the DLD group, contradicting previous findings of semantic depth as a particular area of weakness in this group.
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