Sixteen-year-olds with specific language impairment (SLI), nonspecific language impairment (NLI), and those showing typical language development (TD) responded to target words in sentences that were either grammatical or contained a grammatical error immediately before the target word. The TD participants showed the expected slower response times (RTs) when errors preceded the target word, regardless of error type. The SLI and NLI groups also showed the expected slowing, except when the error type involved the omission of a tense/agreement inflection. This response pattern mirrored an early developmental period of alternating between using and omitting tense/agreement inflections that is characteristic of SLI and NLI. The findings could not be readily attributed to factors such as insensitivity to omissions in general or insensitivity to the particular phonetic forms used to mark tense/ agreement. The observed response pattern may represent continued difficulty with tense/agreement morphology that persists in subtle form into adolescence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Linguistics and Language