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Children with Specific Language Impairment: Progress Toward a Grammatical Phenotype. Presentation by Mabel L. Rice Georgia State University March 18, 2002. Background: What are the Mechanisms That Underlie Children’s Acquisition of Morphosyntax?.

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children with specific language impairment progress toward a grammatical phenotype

Children with Specific Language Impairment: Progress Toward a Grammatical Phenotype

Presentation by Mabel L. Rice

Georgia State University

March 18, 2002

background what are the mechanisms that underlie children s acquisition of morphosyntax
Background: What are the Mechanisms That Underlie Children’s Acquisition of Morphosyntax?
  • Assumption of uniform robustness: All “normal” children acquire language effortlessly, following the same timing mechanisms and the same general sequence. An emphasis on invariant properties of language acquisition. 
  • “In general, language acquisition is a stubbornly robust process; from what we can tell there is virtually no way to prevent it from happening short of raising a child in a barrel.” Pinker, 1984, p. 29.
slide3
Updated assumption: Otherwise “normal” children can have language impairments (SLI); there is unexpected and unexplained variance across children.
  • Some relatively invariant properties of morphosyntax show unexpected individual variability
two kinds of variation across children
Two Kinds of Variation Across Children

2.1 Background: Conventional notion of variation

  • “normative” variation
  • referenced to age expectations
  • bell-shaped curve
slide5

Number of Children

Performance Level

two kinds of variation across children6
Two Kinds of Variation Across Children

2.1 Background: Conventional notion of variation

  • “normative” variation
  • referenced to age expectations
  • bell-shaped curve
  • definition of “SLI”
  • definition of “language disordered”
slide7

Number of Children

Performance Level

slide13
The value of the 3-group design: Affected, age-matched, language-matched
  • Affected < Age matches = “Language Impairment”
slide14
The value of the 3-group design: Affected, age-matched, language-matched
  • Affected < Age matches = “Language Impairment”
  • Affected < language-matched = “Language impairment beyond general language delay”
slide15
2.3    Variation in acquisition timing mechanisms for TNS, ages 3-8 years
  • SLI children start later, and show slower acquisition timing although similar growth curves
slide16
2.3    Variation in acquisition timing mechanisms for TNS, ages 3-8 years
  • SLI children start later, and show slower acquisition timing although similar growth curves
  • Performance Data
slide18
2.3    Variation in acquisition timing mechanisms for TNS, ages 3-8 years
  • SLI children start later, and show slower acquisition timing although similar growth

curves

  • Performance Data
  • Comprehension Data
slide20
Young children show variation that disappears by age 5 years, at adult grammar
  • Performance Data
slide22
Young children show variation that disappears by age 5 years, at adult grammar
  • Comprehension Data
slide27
4. Lexical indices Show Consistent Variation Across the Growth Curve, and Do Not Differentiate SLI from Language-Equivalent Group
  • # Different Words
slide29
4. Lexical indices Show Consistent Variation Across the Growth Curve, and Do Not Differentiate SLI from Language-Equivalent Group
  • # Different Words
  • # Verb Types
slide31
4. Lexical indices Show Consistent Variation Across the Growth Curve, and Do Not Differentiate SLI from Language-Equivalent Group
  • # Different Words
  • # Verb Types
  • # Verb Tokens
slide33
4. Lexical indices Show Consistent Variation Across the Growth Curve, and Do Not Differentiate SLI from Language-Equivalent Group
  • # Different Words
  • # Verb Types
  • # Verb Tokens
  • % General All Purpose Verbs
slide35
4. Lexical indices Show Consistent Variation Across the Growth Curve, and Do Not Differentiate SLI from Language-Equivalent Group
  • # Different Words
  • # Verb Types
  • # Verb Tokens
  • % General All Purpose Verbs
  • PPVT Raw Scores
slide37
5. Detection of Variability in TNS Acquisition Requires Indices that Capture the Probabilistic Character of Optionality
slide38
5. Detection of Variability in TNS Acquisition Requires Indices that Capture the Probabilistic Character of Optionality
  • Emergence measures such as Index of Production Syntax (IPSYN) are not sensitive to grammar markers
slide40
5. Detection of Variability in TNS Acquisition Requires Indices that Capture the Probabilistic Character of Optionality
  • Emergence measures such as Index of Production Syntax (IPSYN) are not sensitive to grammar markers
  • Composite indices such as Developmental Sentence Scoring are not sensitive to grammar markers
6 timing of acquisition differs for morphosyntactic and morphonological components of tns marking
6. Timing of Acquisition Differs for Morphosyntactic and Morphonological Components of TNS-Marking
6 timing of acquisition differs for morphosyntactic and morphonological components of tns marking43
6. Timing of Acquisition Differs for Morphosyntactic and Morphonological Components of TNS-Marking
  • “walked” as finite in morphosyntax
  • “runned” as finite
  • “ran” as finite + morphophonologically accurate
slide47
7. Growth Curve Components and Predictors of Growth are Similar for TNS/Finiteness Indices, but Differ from Morphophonological Index
  • TNS Productions

Linear and quadraticcomponents for SLI and MLU groups; same curves for both groups

Non-Predictors: Intelligence, vocabulary (PPVT-R), Mother’s education

Predictor: MLU

slide48
Irregular Past Tense

Linear growth only, for both groups

Non-predictors: Mother’s education

Predictors: MLU, vocabulary, intelligence

  • Finite past tense

Linear and quadratic components for SLI and MLU groups; same curves for both groups

Non-predictors: Intelligence, vocabulary, and mother’s education

Predictor: MLU

slide49
Conclusions: TNS/AGR-marking (finiteness) follows growth curves that are linear + quadratic in shape and growth is not predicted by intelligence, vocabulary, or mother’s education, and is positively predicted by MLU, although not strongly. When morphophonological accuracy is included in the measurement, the growth curve becomes linear only and the predictors shift to include a child’s vocabulary and non-verbal intelligence.
slide51

8. Cross-clinical Comparisons as a Way of Unraveling the Relationship of TNS, MLU, Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition: A Comparison of SLI and WMS Children Matched for MLU, Disparate for Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition.

slide52

8. Cross-clinical Comparisons as a Way of Unraveling the Relationship of TNS, MLU, Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition: A Comparison of SLI and WMS Children Matched for MLU, Disparate for Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition.

  • MLU equivalent across SLI and WMS
slide54

8. Cross-clinical Comparisons as a Way of Unraveling the Relationship of TNS, MLU, Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition: A Comparison of SLI and WMS Children Matched for MLU, Disparate for Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition.

  • MLU equivalent across SLI and WMS
  • CA different between SLI and WMS
slide56

8. Cross-clinical Comparisons as a Way of Unraveling the Relationship of TNS, MLU, Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition: A Comparison of SLI and WMS Children Matched for MLU, Disparate for Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition.

  • MLU equivalent across SLI and WMS
  • CA different between SLI and WMS
  • WMS IQ < SLI
slide58

8. Cross-clinical Comparisons as a Way of Unraveling the Relationship of TNS, MLU, Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition: A Comparison of SLI and WMS Children Matched for MLU, Disparate for Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition.

  • MLU equivalent across SLI and WMS
  • CA different between SLI and WMS
  • WMS IQ < SLI
  • WMS < SLI on number of words comprehended
slide60

8. Cross-clinical Comparisons as a Way of Unraveling the Relationship of TNS, MLU, Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition: A Comparison of SLI and WMS Children Matched for MLU, Disparate for Cognitive and Lexical Acquisition.

  • MLU equivalent across SLI and WMS
  • CA different between SLI and WMS
  • WMS IQ < SLI
  • WMS < SLI on number of words comprehended
  • SLI < WMS on three measures of TNS:

regular past –ed

3rd person singular –s

BE copula and auxiliary

10 interpretative comments
10. Interpretative Comments
  • Outcomes are compatible with linguistic models of the adult grammar that posit a relatively discrete morphosyntax and TNS-marking as obligatory features of clause construction
  • Evidence is compatible with a 2-phase maturational model, one that controls initial appearance of language (i.e., “start-up”) and another that controls certain grammatical properties versus general lexical growth and overall clause construction
slide69
Overall, support for an Extended Optional Infinitive period that co-exists with a generally slowed linguistic system in children with SLI
  • Selective slowing of certain grammatical properties is evident in the obligatory properties of clausal structure
  • Measurement precision is necessary. To capture optionality, need measures that capture the probabilisitic nature of optionality
implications for genetic studies
Implications for Genetic Studies
  • What elements of language acquisition are vulnerable to phenotypic variation — onset? general delay? delay-within-delay?
  • Is a grammatical marker age-dependent, or also evident in older children and adults?
slide71
Does a grammatical marker appear in syndromic conditions with language impairment?

WMS = delayed onset but not an EOI period

Autism = EOI?

references
References

Pinker, S. (1984). Language learnability and language development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press

Rice, M. L. (1999, July). GAPS over time: Longitudinal observations of children with SLI. Paper presented at the VIIIth congress of the International Assocaition for the Study of Child Language, San Sebastian, Spain.

Rice, M. L., & Wexler, K. (1995). A phenotype of specific language impairment: Extended optional infinitives. In M. L. Rice (Ed.), Toward a genetics of language (pp. 215-237). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Rice, M. L. (2000). Grammatical symptoms of specific language impairment. In D. V. M. Bishop & L. B. Leonard (Eds.) Speech and language impairments in children: Causes, characteristics, intervention and outcome. Psychology Press: East Sussex, England.

slide73

Rice, M. L., Mervis, C., Klein, B. P., & Rice, K. J. (1999, November) Children with Williams Syndrome do not show an EOI stage. Paper presented at the 24th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development.

Rice, K J., Rice, M. L., & Redmond, S. M. (2000, June). MLU outcomes for children with and without SLI: Support for MLU as a matching criterion. Paper to be presented at the 21st Annual Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI.

Rice, M. L., Tweed, S., & Higheagle, B. (2000, June). GAP verbs of children with SLI: Longitudinal observations. Paper to be presented at the 21st Annual Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI.

slide74

Rice, M. L., Wexler, K., & Hershberger, S. (1998). Tense over time: The longitudinal course of tense acquisition in children with specific language impairments. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41, 1412-1431.

Rice, M. L., Wexler, K., Marquis, J., & Hershberger, S. (2000). Acquisition of irregular past tense by children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 43, 1126-1145.

Rice, M. L., Wexler. K., & Redmond, S. M. (1999). Grammaticality judgments of an extended optional infinitive grammar: Evidence from English-speaking children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 932-961.