Grammatical Deficits in Italian-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment In earlier work, Italian-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) have been shown to exhibit a profile of grammatical morpheme difficulties that is quite different from the profile seen for English-speaking children with SLI. In the present study, this difference was confirmed using a wider range of grammatical morpheme types. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1997
Grammatical Deficits in Italian-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Umberta Bortolini
    Centro di Fonetica del CNR
  • Maria Cristina Caselli
    Istituto di Psicologia del CNR
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Audiology and Speech Sciences, Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1997
Grammatical Deficits in Italian-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1997, Vol. 40, 809-820. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4004.809
History: Received July 30, 1996 , Accepted January 30, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1997, Vol. 40, 809-820. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4004.809
History: Received July 30, 1996; Accepted January 30, 1997

In earlier work, Italian-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) have been shown to exhibit a profile of grammatical morpheme difficulties that is quite different from the profile seen for English-speaking children with SLI. In the present study, this difference was confirmed using a wider range of grammatical morpheme types. A group of Italian-speaking children with SLI produced articles and third person plural verb inflections with lower percentages in obligatory contexts than a group of age controls and a group of younger controls matched for mean length of utterance (MLU). However, the children with SLI closely resembled the MLU controls in their production of noun plural inflections, third person copula forms, first person singular and plural verb inflections, and third person singular verb inflections. Errors on articles and copula forms were usually omissions whereas errors on verb inflections were usually productions of inappropriate finite inflections. Infinitives were seen in contexts requiring finite forms but they were not the dominant error type. Data from comprehension tasks raise the possibility that production factors were responsible for some of the differences seen. The findings of this study suggest that accounts of SLI are incomplete unless they assign a major role to the relative ease of identifying and interpreting the relevant data in the ambient language. The implications of these findings for current accounts of SLI are discussed.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this paper was supported by research grant number 5 R01 DC 00-458 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, and a grant from the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. The authors wish to thank Elena Chiovati, Simona Savelli, and M. Assunta Marano for their assistance during this project.
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