The Expression of Aspect in Cantonese-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment

Fletcher, Paul; Leonard, Laurence B.; Stokes, Stephanie F.; Wong, Anita M.-Y.
June 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2005, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p621
Academic Journal
Previous studies of verb morphology in children with specific language impairment (SLI) have been limited in the main to tense and agreement morphemes. Cantonese, which, like other Chinese languages, has no grammatical tense, presents an opportunity to investigate potential difficulties for children with SLI in other areas of verb morphology, via scrutiny of elements of its aspectual system. The performance of 3 groups of children (n = 15 in each group)--preschoolers with SLI, typically developing same-age peers, and younger, typically developing peers--was compared in procedures designed to elicit aspect forms. The children with SLI were less likely to produce both perfective and imperfective aspect markers. It is suggested that reasons for these findings are to be found in the sparse morphology of Cantonese and in the nonobligatory nature of these forms.


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