Skip to main content

Mariapaola D’Imperio in First Language

A new paper by Mariapaola D’Imperio (Faculty) and colleagues at the University of Milan-Biocca is now out ‘online first’ in the journal First Language.

They study the impact of early cochlear implantation on children and conclude that children implanted early use intonation patterns just like children of the same age with typical hearing do. Details below.

Congratulations to the authors!

Zanchi, Paola; Zampini, Laura; Pancani, Luca; Berici, Roberta & D’Imperio, Mariapaola. 2021. Similar use of intonation structure in early implanted children and hearing children: the case of Italian. First Language.

Abstract: This work presents an analysis of the intonation competence in a group of Italian children with cochlear implant (CI). Early cochlear implantation plays a crucial role in language development for children who were born deaf in that it favours the acquisition of complex aspects of language, such as the intonation structure. A story-generation task, the Narrative Competence Task, was used to elicit children’s stories. Narrations produced by 8 early implanted children and by 16 children with typically hearing (TH) (8 one-to-one matched considering the chronological age, TH-CA, and 8 considering the hearing age, TH-HA) were analysed considering intonation features (pitch accent distribution, edge tones and inner breaks). Results show that children with CI produce intonation patterns that are similar to those of both TH-CA and TH-HA control groups. Few significant differences were found only between children with CI and children matched for TH-HA in the use of rising edge tones. These results are discussed in light of the role of cognitive development in using prosody and intonation and the importance of early CI implantation. This study shows for the first time that intonation use of early implanted children is not different from that of typically developing children with the same chronological age.