Grammaticality Judgments of an Extended Optional Infinitive Grammar Evidence From English-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment Research Article
Research Article  |   August 1999
Grammaticality Judgments of an Extended Optional Infinitive Grammar
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas Lawrence
  • Kenneth Wexler
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge
  • Sean M. Redmond
    University of Utah Salt Lake City
  • Contact author: Mabel L. Rice, Child Langauge Doctoral Program, University of Kansas, 1082 Dole, Lawrence, KS 66045.
    Contact author: Mabel L. Rice, Child Langauge Doctoral Program, University of Kansas, 1082 Dole, Lawrence, KS 66045.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: mabel@ukans.edu
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 1999
Grammaticality Judgments of an Extended Optional Infinitive Grammar
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1999, Vol. 42, 943-961. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4204.943
History: Received April 20, 1998 , Accepted February 8, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1999, Vol. 42, 943-961. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4204.943
History: Received April 20, 1998; Accepted February 8, 1999

This study reports on the outcomes of an investigation designed to evaluate competing accounts of the nature of the grammatical limitations of children with specific language impairment (SLI) with a new comprehension measure involving well-formedness judgments. It is a follow-up to the longitudinal study of Rice, Wexler, and Hershberger (1998), which reported on the production of grammatical morphemes by young children with SLI and 2 control groups of children, one at equivalent levels of mean length of utterance at the outset of the study, the other of equivalent age. In this investigation, we report on grammaticality judgment measures collected from the same 3 groups of children over a period of 2 years for 5 times of measurement. It is the first longitudinal study of grammaticality judgments of children with SLI. The findings show that children's grammatical judgments parallel their productions: Children with SLI can make fine-tuned grammatical judgments to reject morphosyntactic errors they are unlikely to commit, whereas they accept morphosyntactic errors that they are likely to produce. The findings support the extended optional infinitive (EOI) account of morphosyntactic limitation based in underlying grammatical representations and do not support accounts of input processing deficits or production constraints.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders Award R01 DC01803 to Mabel L. Rice and Kenneth Wexler. We express special appreciation to Karla R. Haney, Chien J. Wang, Laura Smith, and Carol Schekall for data collection and to Esther Lerner for data management and assistance with data analysis. We thank Scott Hershberger for the growth curve analyses. We also greatly appreciate the assistance of Patsy Woods. We are especially grateful for the support of the parents, who agreed to share their children for the purpose of investigation, and to the many teachers, school administrators, and preschool/day care providers who assisted us in the study. Although their contributions are worthy and each special in their own way, it is not possible to list names here because this list now numbers over 100 attendance centers. Preliminary reports of this investigation were presented at the 22nd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, November 1997 and the 57th Annual Convention of the American Speech- Language-Hearing Association, November 1997.
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