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ERIC Number: ED565930
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 120
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3037-2152-6
Argument Structure Use in Monolingual and Bilingual Children
Souto, Sofia M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
The data on language acquisition in children with specific language impairment (SLI) primarily come from studies in English reporting particular morphemes that differentiate them from their typically developing (TYP) peers, but markers of impairment vary cross-linguistically. There is some cross-linguistic evidence that SLI disrupts language acquisition at a deeper linguistic level than grammatical morphology; at a level called argument structure (Grela & Leonard, 1997, 2000; Grela, 2003; Sanz-Torrent, Andreu, Badia & Sidera, 2001, 2011), but little is known of the trajectory of acquisition in TYP needed for comparison. The current study examined argument structure production and comprehension in TYP bilingual Spanish/English and their monolingual school-aged children (N = 78), with a focus on expressing causation in alternating and non-alternating verbs that require periphrastic or passive forms, and their anti-causative counterparts. Published studies of argument structure have methodological issues including small Ns, limited details of production errors and exclusion of certain verbs, while bilingual studies fail to separate the languages. Productions of overgeneralizations by TYP are reported from diary data and language samples across languages. A tendency to omit arguments in monolingual and bilingual SLI is based on few opportunities to the exclusion of certain verb types and few exemplars. Results inform theoretical issues related to acquisition and complexity of different verbs and sentence structures, as well as clinically relevant data for comparison against children suspected of being SLI. Findings of productive use of argument structure revealed that monolingual speakers were significantly more accurate than bilingual speakers for English, suggesting that bilinguals had less familiarity with the varying sentence structures despite comparable conversational skills. Significant differences in accuracy among verb types point toward variation in the use of the elicited structures, which was not found to vary by group. Results of the comprehension task revealed no group differences. Significantly greater accuracy was found for particular sentence types compared others as seen in the expressive task, though differences were not noted for group. Discussion centers on the implication of these findings as it relates to our current understanding of argument structure acquisition and how researchers approach future studies, and translation to clinical practice. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A