An Examination of the Morpheme BE in Children With Specific Language Impairment The Role of Contractibility and Grammatical Form Class Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1997
An Examination of the Morpheme BE in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Patricia L. Cleave
    Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas Lawrence
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1997
An Examination of the Morpheme BE in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1997, Vol. 40, 480-492. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4003.480
History: Received November 9, 1995 , Accepted November 11, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1997, Vol. 40, 480-492. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4003.480
History: Received November 9, 1995; Accepted November 11, 1996

This study examined the production of the morpheme BE, focusing on the influence of contractibility, the relationship between copula and auxiliary forms, and the occurrence of non-omission errors. Language samples collected from children with SLI and from normal language learners at equivalent MLU levels were analyzed. Three levels of contractibility were examined: contractible, syntactically uncontractible, and phonetically uncontractible. Contractible contexts were produced significantly more accurately than uncontractible contexts by both groups. There was no difference between the two forms of uncontractibility. Furthermore, there were no significant interactions between language status and contractibility, suggesting that contractibility influenced both groups equally. Copula forms were produced more consistently than auxiliary. There was no interaction between BE type and language status. The groups did not differ in proportion or type of non-omission error. The results are discussed in relation to accounts of morphological deficits in SLI.

Acknowledgments
This paper is based on the first author’s doctoral dissertation, completed while she held a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Support was also provided by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Award R01 DC01803 to Mabel L. Rice and Kenneth Wexler. This study was presented in part at the 1995 Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI; the 1995 Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association, Orlando, FL; and the VIIth International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Istanbul, Turkey. Appreciation is extended to Mary Howe, Karla Rice, and Colette Thomas for various aspects of transcription and reliability coding and to Janet Marquis for her contributions to data analyses. We also express special thanks to the children who participated in this study and to their parents and their teachers. The following day care centers and preschools participated in this research. In Baldwin, KS: Rainbow Experience Preschool; Lawrence, KS: Children’s Learning Center, Kindercare, Language Acquisition Preschool, Stepping Stones; Lees’ Summit, MO: Early Childhood Center; Olathe, KS: Developmental Learning Center, Dinosaur Den Preschool; Ottawa, KS: Franklin County Daycare; Overland Park, KS: Prairie Star-Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission, KS public school system; Wellsville, KS: Wellsville Elementary Preschool. Finally, we are grateful to Pam Hadley, Carolyn Mervis, and Ken Wexler for helpful discussions and comments.
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