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Academic Paper


Title: Tense and aspect in sentence interpretation by children with specific language impairment
Author: Laurence B. Leonard
Institution: Purdue University
Author: Patricia Deevy
Institution: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) are sensitive to completion cues in their comprehension of tense. In two experiments, children with SLI (ages 4 ; 1 to 6 ; 4) and typically developing (TD) children (ages 3 ; 5 to 6 ; 5) participated in a sentence-to-scene matching task adapted from Wagner (). Sentences were in either present or past progressive and used telic predicates. Actions were performed twice in succession; the action was either completed or not completed in the first instance. In both experiments, the children with SLI were less accurate than the TD children, showing more difficulty with past than present progressive, regardless of completion cues. The TD children were less accurate with past than present progressive requests only when the past actions were incomplete. These findings suggest that children with SLI may be relatively insensitive to cues pertaining to event completion in past tense contexts.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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