Verb Comprehension and Use in Children and Adults With Down Syndrome PurposeExpressive syntax is a particular area of difficulty for individuals with Down syndrome (DS). In order to better understand the basis for sentence formulation deficits often observed in children and adults with DS, the authors explored the use and comprehension of verbs differing in argument structure.MethodThe authors examined verb and ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2012
Verb Comprehension and Use in Children and Adults With Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nan Bernstein Ratner
    University of Maryland, College Park
  • Rochelle Newman
    University of Maryland, College Park
  • Correspondence to Sarah E. Michael: sarahwilhemina@gmail.com
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Crais×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   December 01, 2012
Verb Comprehension and Use in Children and Adults With Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1736-1749. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0050)
History: Received February 23, 2011 , Revised September 14, 2011 , Accepted April 30, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2012, Vol. 55, 1736-1749. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0050)
History: Received February 23, 2011; Revised September 14, 2011; Accepted April 30, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

PurposeExpressive syntax is a particular area of difficulty for individuals with Down syndrome (DS). In order to better understand the basis for sentence formulation deficits often observed in children and adults with DS, the authors explored the use and comprehension of verbs differing in argument structure.

MethodThe authors examined verb and argument structure retrieval in 18 individuals, 9 with DS, age 11;11 (years;months) to 32;10 and 9 receptive vocabulary age-matched typically developing (TD) children, age 3;2 to 13;6. Participants completed verb and noun comprehension tasks, a working memory assessment, verb and noun naming tasks, grammaticality judgments, and narrative tasks.

ResultsNeither single verb comprehension nor single verb naming differentiated the DS and TD groups. Individuals with DS performed significantly worse than individuals who are TD when asked to judge sentence grammaticality. Individuals with DS omitted verbs in elicited narratives significantly more often than individuals who are TD, specifically when productions of 2-place and 3-place verbs were attempted. Individuals with DS also omitted other necessary elements of argument structure, such as subjects, in sentences containing 2-place and 3-place verbs significantly more often than individuals who are TD. Performance was not related to working memory skills.

ConclusionsResults indicate that individuals with DS do display a specific expressive deficit in verb and argument structure retrieval (but not comprehension) that varies as a function of verb type (1 place, 2 place, and 3 place).

Acknowledgments
We thank Yasmeen Shah for help on this project, the Language Development Lab (R. Newman, PI), and Jessica Bauman, who helped with reliability.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access