Nominal Versus Verbal Morpheme Use in Late Talkers at Ages 3 and 4 Late talkers with normal receptive language and typically developing peers matched at 24- to 31-month intake on socieoeconomic status and nonverbal cognitive skills were compared at age 3 (N=29, 20) and age 4 (N=37, 16) on grammatical morpheme suppliance during speech samples. Age 4 late talkers differed from age 3 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2002
Nominal Versus Verbal Morpheme Use in Late Talkers at Ages 3 and 4
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Leslie Rescorla, PhD
    Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Julie Roberts
    University of Vermont Burlington
  • Contact author: Leslie Rescorla, PhD, Department of Psychology, Bryn Mawr College, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. 610-527-5190. E-mail: lrescorl@brynmawr.edu
Article Information
Special Populations / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2002
Nominal Versus Verbal Morpheme Use in Late Talkers at Ages 3 and 4
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2002, Vol. 45, 1219-1231. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/098)
History: Received January 25, 2002 , Accepted June 26, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2002, Vol. 45, 1219-1231. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/098)
History: Received January 25, 2002; Accepted June 26, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 16

Late talkers with normal receptive language and typically developing peers matched at 24- to 31-month intake on socieoeconomic status and nonverbal cognitive skills were compared at age 3 (N=29, 20) and age 4 (N=37, 16) on grammatical morpheme suppliance during speech samples. Age 4 late talkers differed from age 3 MLU-matched typically developing children on only the contractible copula. At age 4, ‘late bloomers’ did not differ from typically developing children on any morpheme, but late talkers with ‘continuing delay’ differed from comparison children on articles, nominative case pronouns, auxiliary be, and the contractible copula. Noun phrase morphemes were acquired earlier than verb phrase morphemes by both late talkers and comparison children, a nominal-verbal morpheme “decalage” that was first reported by R. Brown (1973) . Results suggested that our late talkers did not have a selective deficit in verb morphology relative to their MLU. Findings are discussed in terms of a spectrum of SLI, with both late talkers and preschoolers with SLI hypothesized to have weaker endowments for language learning than typically developing children, but with late talkers being less impaired and thus closer to normal on this spectrum.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants to the first author from the Bryn Mawr College Faculty Research Fund and from the National Institutes of Health (NICHD Area Grant 1-R15-HD22355-01; NIDCD R01-DC00807). The authors wishes to thank Anne Marie Borneman for her morpheme coding and the parents and children whose participation made this research possible.
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