The development of base syntax in normal and linguistically deviant children.

  • Morehead D
  • Ingram D
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Compared language samples of 15 11/2-3 yr old normal children actively engaged in learning base syntax with samples of 15 31/2-91/2 yr old linguistically deviant children of a comparable linguistic level. Mean number of morphemes per utterance was used to determine linguistic level. The 2 groups were matched according to 5 linguistic levels previously established, and grammars were written for the language sample of each S. 5 aspects of syntactic development were chosen as the basis of comparison: phrase structure rules, transformations, construction (or sentence) types, inflectional morphology, and minor lexical categories. While few significant differences were found for the more general aspects of syntax, significant differences were found between the 2 groups of infrequently occurring transformations and the number of major syntactic categories per construction type. The deviant group also showed a marked delay in the onset and acquisition time for learning base syntax. Results are discussed according to transformational and cognitive developmental theory. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Language Development
  • *Syntax

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  • Donald M Morehead

  • David Ingram

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