Alternative Tense and Agreement Morpheme Measures for Assessing Grammatical Deficits During the Preschool Period Purpose P. A. Hadley and H. Short (2005) developed a set of measures designed to assess the emerging diversity and productivity of tense and agreement (T/A) morpheme use by 2-year-olds. The authors extended 2 of these measures to the preschool years to evaluate their utility in distinguishing children with specific ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Alternative Tense and Agreement Morpheme Measures for Assessing Grammatical Deficits During the Preschool Period
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Allison Gladfelter
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Correspondence to Laurence B. Leonard: xdxl@purdue.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Sean Redmond
    Associate Editor: Sean Redmond×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Alternative Tense and Agreement Morpheme Measures for Assessing Grammatical Deficits During the Preschool Period
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 542-552. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0100)
History: Received March 30, 2012 , Accepted July 2, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 542-552. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0100)
History: Received March 30, 2012; Accepted July 2, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 14

Purpose P. A. Hadley and H. Short (2005) developed a set of measures designed to assess the emerging diversity and productivity of tense and agreement (T/A) morpheme use by 2-year-olds. The authors extended 2 of these measures to the preschool years to evaluate their utility in distinguishing children with specific language impairment (SLI) from their typically developing (TD) peers.

Method Spontaneous speech samples from 55 children (25 with SLI, 30 TD) at 2 different age levels (4;0–4;6 [years;months] and 5;0–5;6) were analyzed, using a traditional T/A morphology composite that assessed accuracy, and the Hadley and Short measures of Tense Marker Total (assessing diversity of T/A morpheme use) and Productivity Score (assessing productivity of major T/A categories).

Results All 3 measures showed acceptable levels of sensitivity and specificity. In addition, similar differences in levels of productivity across T/A categories were seen in the TD and SLI groups.

Conclusion The Tense Marker Total and Productivity Score measures seem to have considerable utility for preschool-age children, in that they provide information about specific T/A morphemes and major T/A categories that are not distinguished using the traditional composite measure. The findings are discussed within the framework of the gradual morphosyntactic learning account.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this article was supported in part by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC00458. We thank Patricia Deevy for her assistance with the management of the spontaneous speech samples. We extend our gratitude to Pamela Hadley for answering questions regarding the coding of the Tense Marker Total and Productivity Scores. We also thank Kara Bird for her efforts completing the interobserver reliability coding. Finally, we thank the children and families who participated in this study.
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