The Growth of Tense Productivity PurposeThis study tests empirical predictions of a maturational model for the growth of tense in children younger than 36 months using a type-based productivity measure.MethodCaregiver–child language samples were collected from 20 typically developing children every 3 months from 21 to 33 months of age. Growth in the productivity of tense ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2009
The Growth of Tense Productivity
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Matthew Rispoli
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Pamela A. Hadley
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Janet K. Holt
    Northern Illinois University
  • Contact author: Matthew Rispoli, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, 901 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. E-mail: mrispoli@uiuc.edu.
Article Information
Development / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   August 01, 2009
The Growth of Tense Productivity
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2009, Vol. 52, 930-944. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0079)
History: Received April 18, 2008 , Accepted January 12, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2009, Vol. 52, 930-944. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0079)
History: Received April 18, 2008; Accepted January 12, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 29

PurposeThis study tests empirical predictions of a maturational model for the growth of tense in children younger than 36 months using a type-based productivity measure.

MethodCaregiver–child language samples were collected from 20 typically developing children every 3 months from 21 to 33 months of age. Growth in the productivity of tense morphemes, centered at 21 months, was examined using hierarchical linear modeling. The empirical Bayes residuals from 21- to 30-month productivity growth trajectories predicted children’s accuracy of tense marking at 33 months.

ResultsA random effects quadratic growth model with no intercept best characterized the growth of tense marking between 21 and 30 months. Average development was characterized by slow instantaneous linear growth of less than 1 morpheme per month at 21 months and acceleration overall. Significant variation around this trend was also evident. Children’s linear and quadratic empirical Bayes residuals together predicted 33-month accuracy scores (r = .672, p = .008).

ConclusionsAcceleration and variation about this trend are consistent with maturational models of language acquisition. With an empirically sound characterization of early variation in morphosyntactic growth rates, future investigations can more rigorously test hypotheses regarding biological, environmental, and developmental contributions to the acquisition of morphosyntax.

Acknowledgments
The archival database was originally gathered as part of Grant R15DC005374-01 awarded to Matthew Rispoli from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Portions of this article were previously presented at the Language Processing Brown Bag and the Linguistics Colloquium at the University of Illinois. We extend our sincere appreciation to the 20 families that made this work possible; to Leigh Mangun, Aimie Pollard, and Tara Jamieson for their assistance with grammatical coding; and to Janna Oetting for her feedback on early versions of this article.
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