The use of relative clauses by children with language impairment

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Recently, there has been increased attention to the development of complex syntax by children with language disorder. An example is the work of Schuele and Nicholls and Schuele and Tolbert who describe the acquisition of relative clauses by a group of children with SLI. The current paper presents data from 66 children with language impairment, aged 6 to 11 years. Their use of relative clauses is examined in two contexts, an elicitation and a narrative task. Data are presented on the omission of obligatory relative markers, postulated by Schuele and Tolbert as a recognizable stage in development by SLI but not typically developing children. Obligatory marker omission was rare in the current data. A more common pattern was use of the "reduced relative", described by Schuele and Tolbert as a developmental step prior to the production of full relative clauses. Possible reasons for the discrepancies are considered.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages7
JournalClinical LInguistics and Phonetics
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006