The Expression of Aspect in Cantonese-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment Previous studies of verb morphology in children with specific language impairment (SLI) have been limited in the main to tense and agreement morphemes. Cantonese, which, like other Chinese languages, has no grammatical tense, presents an opportunity to investigate potential difficulties for children with SLI in other areas of verb morphology, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2005
The Expression of Aspect in Cantonese-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paul Fletcher
    University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Stephanie F. Stokes
    University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
  • Anita M.-Y. Wong
    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • Contact author: Paul Fletcher, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University College Cork, College Road, Cork, Ireland. E-mail: p.fletcher@ucc.ie
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2005
The Expression of Aspect in Cantonese-Speaking Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2005, Vol. 48, 621-634. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/043)
History: Received April 19, 2004 , Accepted November 30, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2005, Vol. 48, 621-634. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/043)
History: Received April 19, 2004; Accepted November 30, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 31

Previous studies of verb morphology in children with specific language impairment (SLI) have been limited in the main to tense and agreement morphemes. Cantonese, which, like other Chinese languages, has no grammatical tense, presents an opportunity to investigate potential difficulties for children with SLI in other areas of verb morphology, via scrutiny of elements of its aspectual system. The performance of 3 groups of children (n=15 in each group)—preschoolers with SLI, typically developing same-age peers, and younger, typically developing peers—was compared in procedures designed to elicit aspect forms. The children with SLI were less likely to produce both perfective and imperfective aspect markers. It is suggested that reasons for these findings are to be found in the sparse morphology of Cantonese and in the nonobligatory nature of these forms.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this article was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Research Grant R01 00-458. We are grateful for the collaboration of the Hong Kong Christian Service, Choi Wan and Yuen Long Early Education and Training Centres; the Spastics Association of Hong Kong, Wang Tau Hom and Tak Tin Early Education and Training Centres; the Speech and Language Clinic at the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Hong Kong; Pamela Youde Child Assessment Centre; Yan Chai Hospital; and other speech therapy service providers in Hong Kong. We thank the children and families who participated. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Anna Lee, Eva Chau, Serena Chan, Patricia Deevy, Alice Lee, Cora Lee, Lina Wong, and Richard Wong.
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