Three Accounts of the Grammatical Morpheme Difficulties of English-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment Several hypotheses have been offered to explain the grammatical morpheme difficulties observed in the speech of children with specific language impairment. Three of the accounts that could be evaluated in English were the focus of this study: the extended optional infinitive account, the implicit rule deficit account, and the surface ... Research Article
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Research Article  |   August 01, 1997
Three Accounts of the Grammatical Morpheme Difficulties of English-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Audiology and Speech Sciences, Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907
  • Julia A. Eyer
    University of Texas, El Paso
  • Lisa M. Bedore
    Audiology and Speech Sciences, Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907
  • Bernard G. Grela
    Audiology and Speech Sciences, Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1997
Three Accounts of the Grammatical Morpheme Difficulties of English-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1997, Vol. 40, 741-753. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4004.741
History: Received June 14, 1996 , Accepted January 8, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1997, Vol. 40, 741-753. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4004.741
History: Received June 14, 1996; Accepted January 8, 1997

Several hypotheses have been offered to explain the grammatical morpheme difficulties observed in the speech of children with specific language impairment. Three of the accounts that could be evaluated in English were the focus of this study: the extended optional infinitive account, the implicit rule deficit account, and the surface account. Preschoolers with specific language impairment, a group of age controls, and a group of younger children matched for mean length of utterance were evaluated in their use of several theory-relevant grammatical morphemes. The findings revealed advantages for both the surface and extended optional infinitive hypotheses. In contrast, a test of the predictions based on the implicit rule deficit account suggested that the children studied here were not experiencing a deficit of this type.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this paper was supported by research grant 5 R01 DC 00-458 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. The authors would like to thank Erika Gerber, Diane Ogiela, Carol Miller, Jennifer Dahmer, and Judy Kolb for their valuable assistance on this project. Gratitude is also conveyed to the professionals who helped in the identification of appropriate children, the families who agreed to participate, and, of course, the children themselves.
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