Article  |   December 2012
Finiteness Marking in Boys With Fragile X Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mabel L. Rice
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Steven F. Warren
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Correspondence to Audra M. Sterling, who is now at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin—Madison: asterling@waisman.wisc.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais×
  • © 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Autism Spectrum / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language
Article   |   December 2012
Finiteness Marking in Boys With Fragile X Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1704-1715. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/10-0106)
History: Received April 19, 2010 , Revised December 2, 2010 , Accepted April 11, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1704-1715. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/10-0106)
History: Received April 19, 2010; Revised December 2, 2010; Accepted April 11, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose: The current study investigated finiteness marking (e.g., he walks, he walked) in boys with fragile X syndrome (FXS); the boys were grouped based on receptive vocabulary (i.e., borderline, impaired).

Method: Twenty-one boys with the full mutation of fragile X, between the ages of 8 and 16 years participated. The boys completed probes from the Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (TEGI; Rice & Wexler, 2001), a language sample, a nonverbal IQ test (Leiter–R; Roid & Miller, 1997), a receptive vocabulary test (the Pearson Picture Vocabulary Test—Fourth Edition [PPVT–IV]; Dunn & Dunn, 2007), and a measure of autistic symptoms (the Childhood Autism Rating Scale [CARS]; Schopler, Reichler, & Renner, 2002).

Results: There were group differences for finiteness responses on the 3rd person singular probe; the group with impaired vocabulary omitted markers with greater frequency compared to the borderline vocabulary group. There were not significant differences on the past tense probe, with both groups performing lower than expectations based on receptive vocabulary ability. Nonverbal IQ was not correlated with the measures of finiteness marking.

Conclusion: Boys with FXS demonstrate delays in finiteness marking, in particular, on past tense verbs. Boys with FXS show a unique profile, unlike children with SLI, in which their use of tense markers may exceed expectations benchmarked to clause length.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported, in part, by National Institute on Child Health and Human Development Grants 3 P30 HD003110-3, P30 HD002528-39, and T32 HD07489, as well as by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant T32 DC000052 and a summer student fellowship from the National Fragile X Foundation. We would like to thank the children and families who participated in this research. We thank Len Abbeduto and Joanne Roberts for their input on the design of the study. We also thank Michaela Catlin, Emily Enright, Kara Knapp, and Holly Watson for their assistance with transcription and data entry, and Kandace Fleming for her assistance with the data analysis.
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