Past Tense Production by English Second Language Learners With and Without Language Impairment PurposeThis study investigated whether past tense use could differentiate children with language impairment (LI) from their typically developing (TD) peers when English is children’s second language (L2) and whether L2 children’s past tense profiles followed the predictions of Bybee’s (2007)  usage-based network model.MethodA group of L2 children with LI (L2-LI) ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2013
Past Tense Production by English Second Language Learners With and Without Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elma Blom
    University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Johanne Paradis
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Correspondence to Elma Blom, who is now at Utrecht University, the Netherlands: w.b.t.blom@uu.nl
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Lisa Bedore
    Associate Editor: Lisa Bedore×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   February 01, 2013
Past Tense Production by English Second Language Learners With and Without Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 281-294. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0112)
History: Received May 10, 2011 , Revised October 28, 2011 , Accepted May 29, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2013, Vol. 56, 281-294. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0112)
History: Received May 10, 2011; Revised October 28, 2011; Accepted May 29, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

PurposeThis study investigated whether past tense use could differentiate children with language impairment (LI) from their typically developing (TD) peers when English is children’s second language (L2) and whether L2 children’s past tense profiles followed the predictions of Bybee’s (2007)  usage-based network model.

MethodA group of L2 children with LI (L2-LI) and a matched group of L2-TD peers were administered the past tense probe from the Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (Rice & Wexler, 2001) and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (Dunn & Dunn, 1997). A representative input corpus provided distributional information for each verb used. Background information was obtained via parent questionnaire.

ResultsThe L2-LI group used fewer tense-marked verbs than did the L2-TD group. In both groups, vocabulary size and word frequency predicted accuracy with regular and irregular verbs. Children omitted regular past tense marking most often after alveolar stops, dropping the allomorph /id/; L2-TD children omitted /t/ more often than /d/. Finally, first language typology predicted past tense accuracy.

ConclusionsPast tense use could potentially differentiate between English L2 children with and without LI. The impact of vocabulary, frequency, and phonological factors supported the network model and indicated profile differences between L2-LI and L2-TD children.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a Marie Curie International Fellowship within the Seventh European Community Framework Programme (Grant IOF-219276), awarded to Elma Blom, and by grants from Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions (Grant 200800618-2); the Alberta Centre for Child, Family, and Community Research (Grant 090415INV); and the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (Grant 27061500), awarded to Johanne Paradis.
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