The Influence of Argument-Structure Complexity on the Use of Auxiliary Verbs by Children With SLI The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of argument-structure complexity on the omission of auxiliary be verbs in a group of children with specific language impairment (SLI). These children were compared to a group of younger, normally developing children matched for mean length of utterance (MLU) ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2000
The Influence of Argument-Structure Complexity on the Use of Auxiliary Verbs by Children With SLI
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Bernard G. Grela
    Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: Bernard G. Grela, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences, University of Connecticut, 850 Bolton Road, U-85, Storrs, CT 06269-1085. Email: bgrela@uconn.edu
    Contact author: Bernard G. Grela, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences, University of Connecticut, 850 Bolton Road, U-85, Storrs, CT 06269-1085. Email: bgrela@uconn.edu×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: bgrela@uconn.edu
  • Currently affiliated with the University of Connecticut, Storrs
    Currently affiliated with the University of Connecticut, Storrs×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2000
The Influence of Argument-Structure Complexity on the Use of Auxiliary Verbs by Children With SLI
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1115-1125. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1115
History: Received October 4, 1999 , Accepted July 5, 2000
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2000, Vol. 43, 1115-1125. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4305.1115
History: Received October 4, 1999; Accepted July 5, 2000

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of argument-structure complexity on the omission of auxiliary be verbs in a group of children with specific language impairment (SLI). These children were compared to a group of younger, normally developing children matched for mean length of utterance (MLU) and a group of children matched for chronological age (CA). Using a story-completion task, the children (N=30) were required to produce sentences of varying length and argument-structure complexity. The results of the study indicated that the children with SLI omitted more auxiliary forms than either the MLU or CA controls. In addition, both the children with SLI and the MLU controls were more likely to omit the auxiliary forms when attempting sentences with greater argument-structure complexity. These results suggest that argumentstructure complexity may be a contributing factor to children's omissions of grammatical morphemes.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this paper was supported by Research Grant 5 RO1 DC00-458 from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. The authors thank Carol Miller, Pat Deevy, Marcia Petucci, Joellen Stanton, Natalie Kanaby, Leila Rauf, and Shelley Hoare for their assistance with data collection.
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