Derivational Suffix Productivity for Students With and Without Language-Learning Disabilities The effect of productivity (a correlate of suffix frequency) on students' derivational suffix use was investigated with students with and without language-learning disabilities (LLD). Sixty-nine elementary- to middle-school-age students participated in an elicitation task (in which they produced derived forms) and a forced-choice task (in which they selected derived forms) ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1999
Derivational Suffix Productivity for Students With and Without Language-Learning Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jennifer Windsor
    University of Minnesota Minneapolis
  • Mina Hwang
    University of Minnesota Minneapolis
  • Contact author: Jennifer Windsor, PhD, Department of Communication Disorders, 115 Shevlin Hall, University of Minnesota, 164 Pillsbury Drive S.E., Minneapolis, MN, 55455. Email: windsor@umn.edu
Article Information
Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1999
Derivational Suffix Productivity for Students With and Without Language-Learning Disabilities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1999, Vol. 42, 220-230. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4201.220
History: Received October 6, 1997 , Accepted April 25, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1999, Vol. 42, 220-230. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4201.220
History: Received October 6, 1997; Accepted April 25, 1998

The effect of productivity (a correlate of suffix frequency) on students' derivational suffix use was investigated with students with and without language-learning disabilities (LLD). Sixty-nine elementary- to middle-school-age students participated in an elicitation task (in which they produced derived forms) and a forced-choice task (in which they selected derived forms) to label nonsense objects and events. In each task, students used highly productive suffixes to convey a given meaning. For example, students used the highly productive suffix er rather than the less productive suffix ant to convey an agentive meaning and used the more productive suffix let instead of the unproductive suffix kin to convey a diminutive meaning. Also, productivity appeared to guide accuracy of suffix use across meanings. For example, the agentive suffix er was produced with much higher accuracy than the less productive diminutive suffix let. In general, patterns of performance within and across meanings were the same for students with and without LLD. LLD students were less accurate in determining the meanings conveyed by derivational suffixes than typically achieving students matched for chronological age. However, their performance was similar to typically achieving students with comparable language skills.

Acknowledgments
Particular thanks are extended to Kiersten Toepel for her help in creating the stimulus materials and for administering the experimental tasks. Thanks are extended also to Martha Malkasian, Kathleen Niznick, Manisha Patel, Karen Urberg-Carlson, and Jane Willis for their help in administering the experimental tasks. Comments on an earlier version of the paper by Karla McGregor are much appreciated. This research was supported by a grant to the first author from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R29-DC02402). The article is based on a poster presented at the Symposium for Research on Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI, May 1997.
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