Preferences for Verb Interpretation in Children With Specific Language Impairment This study examined initial preferences for verb interpretation by children with specific language impairment (SLI), MLU-matched children, and age-matched children. Each child watched motion and change-of-state activity scenes on videotape and was then asked to point to the scene that depicted a novel verb, thereby indicating a preferred interpretation. The ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1994
Preferences for Verb Interpretation in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Donna J. Kelly
    Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
  • Mabel L. Rice
    Child Language Program University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Contact author: Donna J. Kelly, PhD, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53233. E-mail: 6322 kellyd@vms.csd.mu.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1994
Preferences for Verb Interpretation in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 182-192. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.182
History: Received January 19, 1993 , Accepted September 20, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 182-192. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.182
History: Received January 19, 1993; Accepted September 20, 1993

This study examined initial preferences for verb interpretation by children with specific language impairment (SLI), MLU-matched children, and age-matched children. Each child watched motion and change-of-state activity scenes on videotape and was then asked to point to the scene that depicted a novel verb, thereby indicating a preferred interpretation. The children were also asked to label the same activity scenes on a second tape. The findings indicated that the 5-year-old age-matched children exhibited a significant verb interpretation preference for the change-of-state scenes, whereas the children with specific language impairment and their 3-year-old MLU-matched peers did not have an interpretation preference for either the motion or change-of-state scenes. The children’s labeling of the activity scenes yielded findings that further supported group differences on the two semantic verb categories. The findings suggest that children’s initial verb interpretation biases vary relative to age and language proficiency.

Acknowledgments
The investigation was partially supported by University of Kansas General Research Allocation No. R29-DC00485 awarded to Mabel L. Rice. Appreciation is extended to the children, parents, and staff of the preschool programs who participated in this study: Early Education Center, Hutchinson; Language Acquisition Preschool, Lawrence; Language Project Preschool, Lawrence; Franklin County Day Care, Ottawa: Montessori Children’s House, Lawrence; Stepping Stones Day Care, Lawrence; St. Luke’s Developmental Preschool, Kansas City; Shawnee Mission Public Schools, Mission; Jaycare, Kansas City; Raintree, Lawrence; Marquette University Child Care Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This manuscript reflects a portion of the findings contained in a doctoral dissertation conducted by the first author while at the University of Kansas. A shorter version of this work was presented at the November Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Seattle, Washington, in 1990.
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