Specific Language Impairment in Swedish The Status of Verb Morphology and Word Order Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2000
Specific Language Impairment in Swedish
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kristina Hansson
    Lund University Lund, Sweden
  • Ulrika Nettelbladt
    Lund University Lund, Sweden
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2000
Specific Language Impairment in Swedish
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2000, Vol. 43, 848-864. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4304.848
History: Received July 19, 1999 , Accepted March 13, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2000, Vol. 43, 848-864. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4304.848
History: Received July 19, 1999; Accepted March 13, 2000

Several competing proposals have been offered to explain the grammatical difficulties experienced by children with specific language impairment (SLI). In this study, the grammatical abilities of Swedish-speaking children with SLI were examined for the purpose of evaluating these proposals and offering new findings that might be used in the development of alternative accounts. A group of preschoolers with SLI showed lower percentages of use of present tense copula forms and regular past tense inflections than normally developing peers matched for age and younger normally developing children matched for mean length of utterance (MLU). Word order errors, too, were more frequent in the speech of the children with SLI. However, these children performed as well as MLU-matched children in the use of present tense inflections and irregular past forms. In addition, the majority of their sentences containing word order errors showed appropriate use of verb morphology. None of the competing accounts of SLI could accommodate all of the findings. In particular, these accounts—or new alternatives —must develop provisions to explain both the earlier acquisition of present tense inflections than past tense inflections and word order errors that seem unrelated to verb morphology.

Acknowledgments
This investigation was supported by research Grant 5 R01 DC 00-458 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. We would like to acknowledge the important contributions made by Eva-Kristina Salameh and Britt Hellquist during the planning of the study. We also thank these two individuals, and Ulrika Guldstrand, for their able assistance during the study itself. Valuable advice was given by Gisela Håkansson. Appreciation is also extended to Carol Miller and Bernard Grela for their expertise during the analysis phase of the project and to Patricia Deevy for her comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Finally, we would like to thank the children who participated in the recordings and the speech-language clinicians who helped us select children for the study.
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