Plural Acquisition in Children With Specific Language Impairment A plural elicitation task and a nominal compounding task were administered to a group of children with SLI and two groups of normally developing children, an age-equivalent group (CA) and a language-equivalent group (MLU). Across tasks, differences between the CA and SLI groups were significant, but differences between the MLU ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1993
Plural Acquisition in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janna B. Oetting
    Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Contact author: Janna B. Oetting, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-2606. e-mail: cdjanna@lsuvm.sncc.lsu.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1993
Plural Acquisition in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1236-1248. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1236
History: Received January 15, 1993 , Accepted July 7, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1236-1248. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1236
History: Received January 15, 1993; Accepted July 7, 1993

A plural elicitation task and a nominal compounding task were administered to a group of children with SLI and two groups of normally developing children, an age-equivalent group (CA) and a language-equivalent group (MLU). Across tasks, differences between the CA and SLI groups were significant, but differences between the MLU and SLI groups were not. These findings suggest that by 5 years of age, children with SLI demonstrate a productive and differentiated plural system. However, unlike the normally developing children, the pluralization skills of the children with SLI were affected by input frequency, with nouns that are frequently pluralized in everyday conversation more readily inflected than ones that are infrequently pluralized. Three explanations within a model of linguistic normalcy are proposed to account for the frequency effect. These include (a) delayed independence of rule use, (b) linguistic vulnerability, and (c) a faulty lexicon.

Acknowledgments
This manuscript summarizes the findings of the first author’s doctoral dissertation, completed while she was a U.S. Department of Education Trainee at the University of Kansas #H029090046-90. As part of a larger project this study was also supported by NIDCD 1R01 NS26129, awarded to the second author. Appreciation is extended to Pat Cleave, Soyeong Pae, and Colette Thomas for their assistance in subject recruitment, language sample elicitation and transcription, and reliability calculation. We are also grateful to the children, teachers, and parents of the following day care centers and preschools in Lawrence: Children’s Learning Center, Community Child Care Services, Head Start, Hilltop Child Development Center, Stepping Stones, United Christian Development Center, Hutchinson Early Education Center, and the public school systems of Baldwin and Shawnee Mission, whose cooperation made this study possible.
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