The study explored the ability of children with syntactic SLI (S-SLI) to produce relative clauses, using two structured elicitation tasks. A preference task and a picture description task were used to elicit subject and object relative clauses. The participants were 18 Hebrew-speaking children with S-SLI aged 9;3-14;6, and the control group included 28 typically developing children aged 7;6-11;0. The rate of target responses as well as the types of other responses the S-SLI group produced were analysed and compared to the control group. The results of both tasks indicated that the children with S-SLI had a deficit in the production of object relatives. Their production of subject relatives was better, though below the performance of the control group. Several response types were used exclusively by the S-SLI group: avoidance of object relatives and production of subject relatives and simple sentences instead, thematic role errors and thematic role reduction. Importantly, the S-SLI children did not omit complementizers, nor did they make other structural errors. These results suggest that the deficit is related to thematic role assignment to moved constituents, and not to a structural deficit in embedding.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|
- Relative clauses
- specific language impairment