An Evaluation of the Facilitative Effects of Inverted Yes-No Questions on the Acquisition of Auxiliary Verbs According to the Auxiliary Clarification Hypothesis (ACH), yes-no questions with sentence-initial auxiliaries (i.e., inverted questions) facilitate children's initial acquisition of auxiliary verbs. Sixteen 3-year-old children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 18 2-year-olds with typical language (TL) participated in an experiment to evaluate the ACH. The children were not yet ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2002
An Evaluation of the Facilitative Effects of Inverted Yes-No Questions on the Acquisition of Auxiliary Verbs
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marc E. Fey, PhD
    University of Kansas Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders Kansas City-Lawrence
  • Diane Frome Loeb
    University of Kansas Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders Kansas City-Lawrence
  • Contact author: Marc Fey, PhD, University of Kansas Medical Center, Dept. of Hearing and Speech, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160-7605. E-mail: mfey@kumc.edu
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2002
An Evaluation of the Facilitative Effects of Inverted Yes-No Questions on the Acquisition of Auxiliary Verbs
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2002, Vol. 45, 160-174. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/012)
History: Received May 18, 2001 , Accepted November 6, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2002, Vol. 45, 160-174. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/012)
History: Received May 18, 2001; Accepted November 6, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 26

According to the Auxiliary Clarification Hypothesis (ACH), yes-no questions with sentence-initial auxiliaries (i.e., inverted questions) facilitate children's initial acquisition of auxiliary verbs. Sixteen 3-year-old children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 18 2-year-olds with typical language (TL) participated in an experiment to evaluate the ACH. The children were not yet making use of auxiliaries. Half of the children participated in twenty 30-min "enrichment" sessions over a 2-month period, during which an assistant produced 30 inverted question recasts in response to the child's own utterances. Fifteen question recasts contained the auxiliary is, and 15 contained the modal will. The other half of the children participated in play sessions but were not exposed to inverted is and will questions. Contrary to predictions based on the ACH, the results revealed no positive effects of the enrichment for is, for will, or for the broader BE and Modal auxiliary categories for either group of children. The children with TL demonstrated advantages over the children with SLI for the general category of BE forms but not for the category of Modals. Inverted questions may be too complex to foster the initial acquisition of auxiliaries in children not already using them productively.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported (in part) by research grant number R01 DC 01817 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and center grant #HDO258 from the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development. The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Jayne Brandel, Bonnie Johnson, P. J. Seymour, and Tracy Krulik in all aspects of this study. We also thank Wendy Aanonson, Tim Brackenbury, Karen Carmody, Jennifer Chaffee, Michelle Christman, Laura Coelho, Bonny Diederich, Michelle Dover, Jane Gillette, Jennifer Lay, Steven Long, Heather Meyer, Melissa Meyer, Tasha Pearson, Tracie Peck, Stephanie Pickert, Rachel Pratte, Kerry Proctor-Williams, Dena Reuter, Dan Ruhnke, Rebecca Schmalz, Susie Sharp, Christy Schneller, Kerri Schreiber, Shari Sokol, Lisa Suellentrop, Tracy Krulik, and Jennifer Williams for their help with data collection, transcription, and fidelity of treatment analyses. We are particularly appreciative of the time and effort generously provided by parents and children who participated in this study.
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