The linguistic constraint on contraction in children with SLI

Kelly Rombough*, Rosalind Thornton

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: The goal of the present study was to investigate whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) obey the constraint on contraction with the verb BE in three linguistic contexts: ellipsis, yes/no questions and embedded questions. Method: Using elicited production methodology, a total of 51 children were tested: 17 children with SLI (mean age = 5;6); 17 language-matched children matched on mean length of utterance (mean age = 3;6) and 17 children age-matched children (mean age = 5;4). Results: The experimental results revealed that children with SLI did not differ from the children in the control groups. Children contracted BE where it is possible and failed to contract in the linguistic contexts where contraction is prohibited. Our experimental findings suggest that for this aspect of linguistic knowledge children with SLI have the same underlying grammar as children whose grammars are typically-developing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


    • contraction
    • constraint
    • SLI
    • language impairment


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