Grammatical Morphology Deficits in Spanish-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment

Bedore, Lisa M.; Leonard, Laurence B.
August 2001
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2001, Vol. 44 Issue 4, p905
Academic Journal
The focus of this study was the use of grammatical morphology by Spanish-speaking preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI). Relative to both same-age peers and younger typically developing children with similar mean lengths of utterance (MLUs), the children with SLI showed more limited use of several different grammatical morphemes. These limitations were most marked for noun-related morphemes such as adjective-agreement inflections and direct object clitics. Most errors on the part of children in all groups consisted of substitutions of a form that shared most but not all of the target's grammatical features (e.g., correct tense and number but incorrect person). Number errors usually involved singular forms used in plural contexts; person errors usually involved third person forms used in first person contexts. The pattern of limitations of the children with SLI suggests that, for languages such as Spanish, additional factors might have to be considered in the search for clinical markers for this disorder. Implications for evaluation and treatment of language disorders in Spanish-speaking children are also discussed.


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