The grammatical morphology of Hebrew-speaking children with specific language impairment: Some competing hypotheses

E. Dromi, L. B. Leonard, M. Shteiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many English-speaking children with specific language impairment have unusual difficulty with grammatical morphemes such as past tense and third- person singular verb inflections and function words such as articles. Unfortunately, the source of this difficulty is not yet clear, in part because some of the possible contributing factors are confounded in English. In the present study, alternative accounts of grammatical morpheme difficulties were evaluated using children with specific language impairment who were acquiring Hebrew. We examined the grammatical morpheme production and comprehension of 15 Hebrew-speaking children with specific language impairment, 15 normally developing compatriots matched for age and 15 normally developing children matched for mean length of utterance in words. The results provided tentative support for the notion that grammatical morphemes are less difficult for children with specific language impairment if they take the form of stressed and/or lengthened syllables and if they appear in a language in which nouns, verbs, and adjectives must be inflected. The possibility that features such as person, number, and gender are missing from the underlying grammars of these children seems less likely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-771
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech and Hearing Research
Volume36
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993

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