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A profile of expressive inflectional morphology in early school-age children with developmental language disorder


Calder, SD and Claessen, M and Leitao, S and Ebbels, S, A profile of expressive inflectional morphology in early school-age children with developmental language disorder, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics ISSN 0269-9206 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

DOI: doi:10.1080/02699206.2021.1931454


Previous research has established that children with developmental language disorder (DLD) have difficulties producing inflectional morphology, in particular, finiteness marking. However, other categories of inflectional morphology, such as possessive ‘s nominal inflection remain relatively unexplored. Analyses of the characteristics for marking inflection, such as allomorphic categories, may increase our understanding of patterns within disordered grammar to inform the design of interventions and target selection. Data from n = 30 early school-aged children (M = 75 months, SD = 3.38, range = 69–81 months) with DLD were analysed to develop a profile of inflectional morphology skills. Morphological categories included expressive regular past tense, third person singular, and possessive ‘s. Skills were profiled using an elicitation task. The relationships between expressive morphosyntax, and phonological short-term memory and working memory were also explored. Children demonstrated low accuracy in performance across all inflectional categories, including possessive ‘s. There were no significant differences between productions of different morphemes, but syllabic allomorphs ([əd]; [əz]) were produced with significantly lower accuracy than segmental allomorphs ([d], [t]; [z], [s]) across all morphological categories. All correlations between expressive morphosyntax and measures of memory were non-significant. Children with DLD show broad deficits in the ability to mark for inflection, including possessive ‘s; this has implications for theories explaining DLD. Findings may contribute to the design of urgently needed interventions for this clinical population.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:developmental language disorder, morphosyntax, verbal inflection, nominal inflection
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Allied health and rehabilitation science
Research Field:Speech pathology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Calder, SD (Dr Samuel Calder)
ID Code:149405
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2022-03-29
Last Modified:2022-04-21

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