Cognitive and receptive language development were examined in 135 60-month-old and 137 72-month-old children for whom prenatal exposure to marijuana, cigarettes, and alcohol had been ascertained. Discriminant Function analysis revealed an association between prenatal cigarette exposure and lower cognitive and receptive language scores at 60 and 72 months. This paralleled and extended observations made with this sample at annual assessments at 12 to 48 months of age. Unlike observations made at 48 months, prenatal exposure to marijuana was not associated with the cognitive and verbal outcomes. Relatively low levels of maternal alcohol consumption did not have significant relationships with the outcome variables. The importance of assessing subtle components rather than global cognitive and language skills to detect potential behavioral teratogenic effects of the drugs being examined is discussed.
Comment In: J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1992 Dec;13(6):425-81469111
This study provides a systematic description of French consonant acquisition in a large cohort of pre-school aged children: 156 children aged 20-53 months participated in a picture-naming task. Five analyses were conducted to study consonant acquisition: (1) consonant inventory, (2) consonant accuracy, (3) consonant acquisition, (4) a comparison of consonant inventory to consonant acquisition, and (5) a comparison to English cross-sectional data. Results revealed that more consonants emerge at an earlier age in word initial position, followed by medial position, and then word final position. Consonant accuracy underwent the greatest changes before the age of 36 months, and achieved a relative plateau towards 42 months. The acquisition of consonants revealed that four early consonants were acquired before the age of 36 months (i.e., /t, m, n, z/); 12 intermediate consonants were acquired between 36 and 53 months (i.e., /p, b, d, k, g, ?, f, v, [symbol in text], l, w, ?/); and four consonants were acquired after 53 months (/s, ?, ?, j/). In comparison to English data, language specific patterns emerged that influence the order and pace of phonological acquisition. These findings highlight the important role of language specific developmental data in understanding the course of consonant acquisition.
This paper focuses on the acquisition of locative prepositional phrases in L1 Norwegian. We report on two production experiments with children acquiring Norwegian as their first language and compare the results to similar experiments conducted with Russian children. The results of the experiments show that Norwegian children at age 2 regularly produce locative utterances lacking overt prepositions, with the rate of preposition omission decreasing significantly by age 3. Furthermore, our results suggest that phonologically strong and semantically unambiguous locative items appear earlier in Norwegian children's utterances than their phonologically weak and semantically ambiguous counterparts. This conclusion is confirmed by a corpus study. We argue that our results are best captured by the Underspecified P Hypothesis (UPH; Mitrofanova, 2017), which assumes that, at early stages of grammatical development, the underlying structure of locative utterances is underspecified, with more complex functional representations emerging gradually based on the input. This approach predicts that the rate of acquisition in the domain of locative PPs should be influenced by the lexical properties of individual language-specific grammatical elements (such as frequency, morphological complexity, phonological salience, or semantic ambiguity). Our data from child Norwegian show that this prediction is borne out. Specifically, the results of our study suggest that phonologically more salient and semantically unambiguous items are mastered earlier than their ambiguous and phonologically less salient counterparts, despite the higher frequency of the latter in the input (Clahsen et al., 1996).
This paper presents a longitudinal study on the acquisition of first, second, and third person pronouns in twelve French-speaking and twelve English-speaking children. Comprehension and production data were collected every two months, beginning when the subjects were aged 1;6 and ending once pronouns were fully acquired. Three hypotheses concerning the rules children develop in learning pronouns were tested: (1) the person-role hypothesis (Charney, 1980), (2) the speech-role hypothesis (Clark, 1978), and (3) the name hypothesis (Clark, 1978). An analysis of children's pronominal confusion when they were addressed listeners as well as when they were non-addressed listeners was performed. The results indicated that the mastery of pronouns did not follow the developmental sequence predicted by the speech-role hypothesis; they provided evidence for the person-role hypothesis only when children were speakers, and partially supported the name hypothesis. The data also suggested that pronominal confusion is not a rare phenomenon among children tested in a non-addressee context. Finally, effects of child gender and native language were observed. Possible interpretations of the data discussed.
Signed languages continue to be a key element of deaf education programs that incorporate a bilingual approach to teaching and learning. In order to monitor the success of bilingual deaf education programs, and in particular to monitor the progress of children acquiring signed language, it is essential to develop an assessment tool of signed language skills. Although researchers have developed some checklists and experimental tests related to American Sign Language (ASL) assessment, at this time a standardized measure of ASL does not exist. There have been tests developed in other signed languages, for example, British Sign Language, that can serve as models in this area. The purpose of this study was to adapt the Assessing British Sign Language Development: Receptive Skills Test for use in ASL in order to begin the process of developing a standardized measure of ASL skills. The results suggest that collaboration between researchers in different signed languages can provide a valuable contribution toward filling the gap in the area of signed language assessment.
Research on specific language impairment (SLI) has primarily focused on the acquisition of nouns and verbs. Less attention has been given to other content-word classes, such as adjectives and adverbs. This article investigates adjective production by 7- to 10-year-old Russian-speaking children with SLI and their typically developing (TD) peers and focuses on the production of antonymous adjectives and degree markers in an elicitation experiment. The results show that degree morphology is more impaired in SLI than antonymy. In antonym production, children with SLI were able to catch up with their TD peers by age 8. In the domain of degree, however, the SLI group lagged behind the TD controls across all ages studied. Error analysis indicates that language-impaired children have particular difficulty with agreement inflection and affixal negations. They also substitute adjectives with specific meanings by more general terms. The implications of this study for the morphological-richness hypothesis are discussed.
Many generativist accounts (e.g., Wexler, 1998) argue for very early knowledge of inflection on the basis of very low rates of person/number marking errors in young children's speech. However, studies of Spanish (Aguado-Orea & Pine, 2015) and Brazilian Portuguese (Rubino & Pine, 1998) have revealed that these low overall error rates actually hide important differences across the verb paradigm. The present study investigated children's production of person/number marked verbs by eliciting present tense verb forms from 82 native Finnish-speaking children aged 2;2-4;8?years. Four main findings were observed: (a) Rates of person/number marking errors were higher in low-frequency person/number contexts, even excluding children who showed no evidence of having learned the relevant morpheme, (b) most errors involved the use of higher frequency forms in lower frequency person/number contexts, (c) error rates were predicted not only by the frequency of person/number contexts (e.g., 3sg?>?2pl) but also by the frequency of individual "ready-inflected" lexical target forms, and (d) for low-frequency verbs, lower error rates were observed for verbs with high phonological neighborhood density. It is concluded that any successful account of the development of verb inflection will need to incorporate both (a) rote-storage and retrieval of individual inflected forms and (b) phonological analogy across them.
This study examines the comprehension and production of subject and object relative clauses (SRCs, ORCs) by children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and their typically developing (TD) peers. The purpose is to investigate whether relative clauses are problematic for Danish children with SLI and to compare errors with those produced by TD children. Eighteen children with SLI, eighteen TD age-matched (AM) and nine TD language-matched (LM) Danish-speaking children participated in a comprehension and in a production task. All children performed better on the comprehension compared with the production task, as well as on SRCs compared to ORCs and produced various avoidance strategies. In the ORC context, children with SLI produced more reversal errors than the AM children, who opted for passive ORCs. These results are discussed within current theories of SLI and indicate a deficiency with the assignment of thematic roles rather than with the structural make-up of RCs.