Sentence Imitation as a Marker of SLI in Czech: Disproportionate Impairment of Verbs and Clitics Purpose The authors examined sentence imitation as a potential clinical marker of specific language impairment (SLI) in Czech and its use to identify grammatical markers of SLI. Method Children with SLI and the age- and language-matched control groups (total N = 57) were presented with a sentence imitation task, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2014
Sentence Imitation as a Marker of SLI in Czech: Disproportionate Impairment of Verbs and Clitics
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Filip Smolík
    Psychologický ústav AV ČR, Praha
  • Petra Vávrů
    Pedagogicko-psychologická poradna České Budějovice
  • 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 Filip Smolík: smolik@praha.psu.cas.cz
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Stephanie Stokes
    Associate Editor: Stephanie Stokes×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2014
Sentence Imitation as a Marker of SLI in Czech: Disproportionate Impairment of Verbs and Clitics
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 837-849. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0384
History: Received November 29, 2012 , Revised April 5, 2013 , Accepted August 7, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 837-849. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-12-0384
History: Received November 29, 2012; Revised April 5, 2013; Accepted August 7, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

Purpose The authors examined sentence imitation as a potential clinical marker of specific language impairment (SLI) in Czech and its use to identify grammatical markers of SLI.

Method Children with SLI and the age- and language-matched control groups (total N = 57) were presented with a sentence imitation task, a receptive vocabulary task, and digit span and nonword repetition tasks. Sentence imitations were scored for accuracy and error types. A separate count of inaccuracies for individual part-of-speech categories was performed.

Results Children with SLI had substantially more inaccurate imitations than the control groups. The differences in the memory measures could not account for the differences between children with SLI and the control groups in imitation accuracy, even though they accounted for the differences between the language-matched and age-matched control groups. The proportion of grammatical errors was larger in children with SLI than in the control groups. The categories that were most affected in imitations of children with SLI were verbs and clitics.

Conclusion Sentence imitation is a sensitive marker of SLI. Verbs and clitics are the most vulnerable categories in Czech SLI. The pattern of errors suggests that impaired syntactic representations are the most likely source of difficulties in children with SLI.

Acknowledgment
The study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GA CR) award No. P407/10/2047 (Comprehension of Grammar and Lexicon in Toddlers), awarded to the first author, and by the institutional support RVO (research organization development) 68081740.
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