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The impact of phonological complexity on past tense inflection in children with Grammatical-SLI

Marshall, CR; van der Lely, HKJ; (2007) The impact of phonological complexity on past tense inflection in children with Grammatical-SLI. Advances in Speech Language Pathology , 9 (3) pp. 191-203. 10.1080/14417040701261509.

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Abstract

English-speaking children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) variably produce inflected and bare stem forms in obligatory past tense contexts. Researchers have not reached consensus as to whether the underlying deficit is morphosyntactic or morphophonological in nature. The Computational Grammatical Complexity (CGC) Hypothesis takes a different tack: it hypothesizes that for children with a particular form of SLI, Grammatical-SLI, the deficit is in representing linguistic structural complexity in at least three components of the computational grammatical system - syntax, morphology and phonology. Deficits in all these components are predicted to impact on regular past tense formation. The impact of syntactic and morphological complexity on G-SLI children's realization of tense has been tested previously. Here we complete the picture by considering phonological effects on their production of regular past tense inflection. Using a past tense elicitation task where we manipulate the phonological complexity of the inflected verb end, we show that, as predicted, verb-end phonological complexity impacts on suffixation: G-SLI children are less likely to suffix stems when the inflected form ends in a consonant cluster. Typically developing controls show no such effect. The results of this study highlight the need to consider the independent contributions of language components to impaired and normal performance.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of phonological complexity on past tense inflection in children with Grammatical-SLI
DOI: 10.1080/14417040701261509
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/175364
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