Grammatical Morphology in Monolingual and Bilingual Children With and Without Language Impairment: The Case of Dutch Plurals and Past Participles Purpose Grammatical morphology is often a locus of difficulty for both children with language impairment (LI) and bilingual children. In contrast to previous research that mainly focused on verbal tense and agreement markings, the present study investigated whether plural and past participle formation can disentangle the effects of LI and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 12, 2017
Grammatical Morphology in Monolingual and Bilingual Children With and Without Language Impairment: The Case of Dutch Plurals and Past Participles
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tessel Boerma
    Utrecht University, Department of Special Education, the Netherlands
  • Frank Wijnen
    Utrecht University, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS, the Netherlands
  • Paul Leseman
    Utrecht University, Department of Special Education, the Netherlands
  • Elma Blom
    Utrecht University, Department of Special Education, 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 Tessel Boerma: t.d.boerma@uu.nl
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Filip Smolik
    Associate Editor: Filip Smolik×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 12, 2017
Grammatical Morphology in Monolingual and Bilingual Children With and Without Language Impairment: The Case of Dutch Plurals and Past Participles
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2017, Vol. 60, 2064-2080. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0351
History: Received September 1, 2016 , Revised December 2, 2016 , Accepted January 31, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, July 2017, Vol. 60, 2064-2080. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0351
History: Received September 1, 2016; Revised December 2, 2016; Accepted January 31, 2017
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose Grammatical morphology is often a locus of difficulty for both children with language impairment (LI) and bilingual children. In contrast to previous research that mainly focused on verbal tense and agreement markings, the present study investigated whether plural and past participle formation can disentangle the effects of LI and bilingualism and, in addition, can point to weaknesses of LI that hold across monolingual and bilingual contexts.

Method Monolingual and bilingual children with and without LI (n = 33 per group) were tested at 2 waves with a word formation task that elicited Dutch noun plurals and past participles. The quantity and quality of errors as well as children's development over time were examined.

Results The plural formation task discriminated between monolingual children with and without LI, but a less differentiated picture emerged in the bilingual group. Moreover, plural accuracy showed fully overlapping language profiles of monolinguals with LI and bilinguals without LI, in contrast to accuracy scores on the past participle formation task. Error analyses suggested that frequent omission of participial affixes may be indicative of LI, irrespective of lingual status.

Conclusion The elicited production of past participles may support a reliable diagnosis of LI in monolingual and bilingual learning contexts.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5165689

Acknowledgments
This work is part of the research program “Cognitive development in the context of emerging bilingualism: Cultural minority children in the Netherlands,” which is financed by a VIDI-grant awarded to Elma Blom (principal investigator) by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). We thank the children, parents, and schools that participated in the study. We also thank CITO for their permission to use the Dutch Language Proficiency Task for All Children.
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