Verb Agreement Morphology in Hebrew-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment Earlier reports of verb morphology use by Hebrew-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) have suggested that these children mark agreement with the subject as accurately as younger control children matched according to mean length of utterance (MLU). This issue was examined in greater detail in the present study by ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1999
Verb Agreement Morphology in Hebrew-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Esther Dromi
    Tel Aviv University, Israel The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
  • Galit Adam
    Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Sara Zadunaisky-Ehrlich
    Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: xdxl@purdue.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1999
Verb Agreement Morphology in Hebrew-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1999, Vol. 42, 1414-1431. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4206.1414
History: Received July 27, 1998 , Accepted April 20, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1999, Vol. 42, 1414-1431. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4206.1414
History: Received July 27, 1998; Accepted April 20, 1999

Earlier reports of verb morphology use by Hebrew-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) have suggested that these children mark agreement with the subject as accurately as younger control children matched according to mean length of utterance (MLU). This issue was examined in greater detail in the present study by including a wider range of agreement inflections from the present and past tense paradigms and employing verbs of different patterns (binyanim). It was hypothesized that children with SLI would be more limited than would MLU controls in their use of agreement inflections within past tense because the past tense agreement paradigm of Hebrew requires the simultaneous manipulation of three features—person, number, and gender. Differences between the groups were not expected for the use of agreement inflections within present tense, because only two features—number and gender—must be manipulated in the present tense paradigm. A group of preschool-age children with SLI was found to have more difficulty than did MLU controls in the use of most past tense agreement inflections. Within present tense, the two groups differed in their use of agreement inflections in only one pattern. For both groups, most errant productions differed from the target form by only one feature, usually person or tense. We found no feature that was consistently problematic for the children. The findings are discussed within a limited processing capacity framework.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this paper was supported by Research Grant 5 R01 DC 00-458 from the National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. The authors thank Anat Blass, Noga Meir, and Zohar Chalamish for their involvement in subject identification, data collection, and analysis. Their able assistance is greatly appreciated. Thanks also go to Ricardo Tarrasch and Carol Miller for their valuable help with statistical analysis. Our discussion of Hebrew word order benefited greatly from comments offered by Yonata Levy.
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