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Verb morphology in German-speaking children with developmental language disorder and phonological impairment

Lookup NU author(s): Juliane Hasselaar, Dr Carolyn Letts, Professor Cristina McKeanORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor and Francis, 2020.

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The verb inflections of matched groups of German-speaking children with developmental language disorder (DLD) and phonological impairment (PI) were evaluated, and performance compared with age-matched and language-matched typically developing (TD) children (66 participants in total). An elicitation task for second- and third-person singular present tense inflections was used and spontaneous language samples were also analysed for present tense inflections. Errors resulting from the children’s speech difficulties were excluded from the analysis. Evidence was found in the elicited data for delayed development in the DLD children, but no differences were found between this group and the TD group matched on language development. Both clinical groups made errors consistent with bare stem- and prosodic factors described in the literature. The children with PI, although scoring within normal limits on standardised tests of language, displayed difficulties with tense inflections that went beyond limitations imposed by their speech. This suggests there may be underlying difficulties in both phonological and grammatical domains for both clinical groups, and potential interaction between these domains. It is recommended that clinicians takeaccount of this possibility when assessing and identifying children with DLD and with PI, and that they avoid reliance on standardised language tests or assessment of grammatical morphology alone when assessing for DLD.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hasselaar J, Letts C, McKean C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics

Year: 2020

Volume: 34

Issue: 7

Pages: 671-691

Online publication date: 21/11/2019

Acceptance date: 08/11/2019

Date deposited: 14/01/2020

ISSN (print): 0269-9206

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5076

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/02699206.2019.1692076


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