The Use of Syntactic Cues in Lexical Acquisition by Children With SLI This study investigated the syntactic bootstrapping abilities of children who differed by language abilities and age. In the first study, the performance of 5-year-old children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) was compared to that of two groups of typically developing children—one of equivalent language levels, as indexed by mean length ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2000
The Use of Syntactic Cues in Lexical Acquisition by Children With SLI
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Patricia L. Cleave
    Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Janna B. Oetting
    Louisiana State University Baton Rouge
  • Contact author: Patricia L. Cleave, PhD, School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 1R2, Canada.
    Contact author: Patricia L. Cleave, PhD, School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 1R2, Canada.×
  • Corresponding author: Email: pcleave@is.dal.ca
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2000
The Use of Syntactic Cues in Lexical Acquisition by Children With SLI
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2000, Vol. 43, 582-594. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4303.582
History: Received April 30, 1999 , Accepted October 26, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2000, Vol. 43, 582-594. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4303.582
History: Received April 30, 1999; Accepted October 26, 1999

This study investigated the syntactic bootstrapping abilities of children who differed by language abilities and age. In the first study, the performance of 5-year-old children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) was compared to that of two groups of typically developing children—one of equivalent language levels, as indexed by mean length of utterance (MLU), and the other of equivalent chronological age. In the second study, two groups of 7-year-old children, one whose language was developing typically and one with SLI, were involved. The count/mass distinction was used as the basis for the experimental tasks. A videotaped story was used to present the novel count and mass words, with syntactic cues in one condition and with neutral syntax in another. Results from the first study revealed that only the 5-year-old nonaffected control children showed evidence of using the syntactic cues. The 5-year-old SLI group and 3-year-old control group achieved comparable scores. However, error analyses suggested that different factors were operative in the two groups. The second study revealed that there was continued growth into the early school years for children with SLI and children whose language was developing typically.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Award #R01 NS26129 to Mabel L. Rice. Preparation of the manuscript was supported by NIDCD Award #2 R01 DC01803 to Mabel L. Rice and Kenneth Wexler. Patricia L. Cleave’s participation was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We express our appreciation to Soyeong Pae, who assisted with the development of the stimuli and data collection. This study was presented in part at the 1993 ASHA national convention. Special appreciation is extended to the children who participated in the study and their parents and teachers and to the preschools/day care centers the children attended.
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