Production and Processing of Subject–Verb Agreement in Monolingual Dutch Children With Specific Language Impairment Purpose In this study, the authors investigated whether errors with subject–verb agreement in monolingual Dutch children with specific language impairment (SLI) are influenced by verb phonology. In addition, the productive and receptive abilities of Dutch acquiring children with SLI regarding agreement inflection were compared. Method An SLI group (6–8 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2014
Production and Processing of Subject–Verb Agreement in Monolingual Dutch Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elma Blom
    Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • Nada Vasić
    University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Jan de Jong
    University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Elma Blom: w.b.t.blom@uu.nl
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Margarita Kaushanskaya
    Associate Editor: Margarita Kaushanskaya×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2014
Production and Processing of Subject–Verb Agreement in Monolingual Dutch Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 952-965. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0104
History: Received April 24, 2013 , Revised July 29, 2013 , Accepted October 10, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 952-965. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0104
History: Received April 24, 2013; Revised July 29, 2013; Accepted October 10, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

Purpose In this study, the authors investigated whether errors with subject–verb agreement in monolingual Dutch children with specific language impairment (SLI) are influenced by verb phonology. In addition, the productive and receptive abilities of Dutch acquiring children with SLI regarding agreement inflection were compared.

Method An SLI group (6–8 years old), an age-matched group with typical development, and a language-matched, younger, typically developing (TD) group participated in the study. Using an elicitation task, the authors tested use of third person singular inflection after verbs that ended in obstruents (plosive, fricative) or nonobstruents (sonorant). The authors used a self-paced listening task to test sensitivity to subject–verb agreement violations.

Results Omission was more frequent after obstruents than nonobstruents; the younger TD group used inflection less often after plosives than fricatives, unlike the SLI group. The SLI group did not detect subject–verb agreement violations if the ungrammatical structure contained a frequent error (omission), but if the ungrammatical structure contained an infrequent error (substitution), subject–verb agreement violations were noticed.

Conclusions The use of agreement inflection by children with TD or SLI is affected by verb phonology. Differential effects in the 2 groups are consistent with a delayed development in Dutch SLI. Parallels between productive and receptive abilities point to weak lexical agreement inflection representations in Dutch SLI.

Acknowledgments
This research is part of the project titled “Cross-Linguistic Study on the Production and Processing of Grammatical Morphemes in L2 Children Compared to Children With Specific Language Impairment” funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). We would like to thank the Anne Frank School in Bunnik, Achtbaan, Polygoon, and Pionier Schools in Almere, Auris Taalfontein in Rotterdam, Auris Taalplein in Gouda, and Auris College in Utrecht for their collaboration and our research assistants, Nienke Verhoog, Marleen Dorlandt, Iske Bakker, Stephanie Leijs, and Merel Maslowski, for helping us.
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