The Comprehension of Wh-Questions in Children With Specific Language Impairment

Deevy, Patricia; Leonard, Laurence B.
August 2004
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2004, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p802
Academic Journal
Current theories of specific language impairment (SLI) in children fall into 2 general classes: those that attribute SLI to processing limitations and those that attribute the disorder to deficits in grammatical knowledge. In this study, the authors examined children's comprehension of subject and object Wh-questions because they offer the means of determining the relative contribution to performance of knowledge and of processing. Comprehension of subject and object Wh-questions presumably requires knowledge of grammatical movement. However, through manipulation of the length of the questions, it is also possible to vary the processing demands of the questions. If a simple deficit in knowledge of movement is involved, children should show poorer comprehension on object questions than on subject questions, regardless of sentence length. However, if processing limitations are involved, length should affect comprehension of object questions but not subject questions. Children with SLI and typically developing (TD) children matched on receptive vocabulary test scores participated in a comprehension task consisting of short and long subject and object Wh-questions. The two groups performed similarly on short questions, each showing high accuracy in both subject and object conditions. However, the children with SLI showed poorer performance on long object questions compared to long subject questions. They were also less accurate on long object questions than were children in the TD group. We argue that demands on linguistic processing abilities play an important role in the difficulties experienced by children with SLI.


Related Articles

  • Parent based language intervention for 2-year-old children with specific expressive language delay: a randomised controlled trial. A Buschmann // Archives of Disease in Childhood;Feb2009, Vol. 94 Issue 2, p110 

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this randomised controlled trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of a short, highly structured parent based language intervention group programme for 2-year-old children with specific expressive language delay (SELD, without deficits in receptive language). METHODS: 61...

  • Leicester unveils speech campaign. Watson, Ross // Children & Young People Now (Haymarket Business Publications Ltd;9/24/2008, p8 

    The article reports on the speech campaign unveiled by Leicester City Council in England. The campaign, called Talk Matters, tackles the increasing rate of children under five-year-old with language difficult. The campaign, which was said to be a multi agency and in development for the past two...

  • Promoting the communication skills of primary school children excluded from school or at risk of exclusion: An intervention study. Law, James; Sivyer, Sonia // Child Language Teaching & Therapy;Jan2003, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p1 

    Previous research has focused on the close association between speech and language difficulties and emotional and behavioural difficulties. However, little attempt has so far been made to examine this relationship in children with emotional or behavioural difficulties who are at risk of...

  • Preschool Word Learning During Joint Book Reading: Effect of Adult Questions and Comments. Ard, Lisa M.; Beverly, Brenda L. // Communication Disorders Quarterly;Fall2004, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p17 

    Adults naturally comment and pose questions during joint book reading (JBR), a recognized context for vocabulary acquisition. An original story containing 10 nonsense words mapped to novel referents was read to 40 typically developing preschoolers. Children who heard scripted questions and...

  • A Comparison of Naturalistic and Analog Treatment Effects in Children with Expressive Language Disorder and Poor Preintervention Imitation Skills. Gillum, Heather; Camarata, Stephen; Nelson, Keith E.; Camarata, Mary N. // Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions;Summer2003, Vol. 5 Issue 3, p171 

    The participants in this study were 4 children diagnosed with Expressive Language Disorder who displayed poor imitation skills, with scores significantly below typical levels on the Sentence Imitation subtest of the Test of Language Development-2: Primary (Newcomer & Hammill, 1988). The purpose...

  • Genes and language impairment.  // Archives of Disease in Childhood -- Education & Practice Edition;Jun2009, Vol. 94 Issue 3, p2 

    The article discusses the genetic aspects of language impairment in children. It observes that although children between 6 and 7 years old are speaking well, about 5% of minority children have unexplained difficulty with aspects of speech and language. It speculates the increased likelihood of...

  • New Scales For the Assessment of Language Development in Young Children. Reynell, Joan; Huntle, R. M. C. // Journal of Learning Disabilities;Dec1971, Vol. 4 Issue 10, p549 

    The Reynell Developmental Language Scales (R.D.L.S.) were developed in response to a clinical need at a center for handicapped children. They are designed for the separate assessment of different aspects of language development over the age range one to five years. The scales are based on the...

  • “But I first… and then he kept picking”: Narrative skill in Mandarin-speaking children with language impairment. Tsai, Wanyu; Chien-ju Chang // Narrative Inquiry;2008, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p349 

    This study investigates the narrative skill of school-aged children with language impairment in Taiwan. Twelve children, 6 children with language impairment (LI) and 6 children with typical language development (TLD), aged from 8;0 to 9;5 participated in this study. They were asked to tell three...

  • Children's Productions of the Affix-ed in Past Tense and Past Participle Contexts. Redmond, Sean M. // Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2003, Vol. 46 Issue 5, p1095 

    Children's productions of the affix-ed in past tense and past participle contexts (e.g., the boy kicked the ball vs. the ball was kicked) were examined in spontaneous conversations and elicited productions. The performances of 7 children with specific language impairment (SLI) were compared with...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics