Background: This study compares 4- to 7-year-old cochlear implanted (CI) and specific language impaired (SLI) children in the production of finite verb morphology and mean length of utterance (MLU). It has been hypothesized that, due to reduced exposure to grammatical elements in the ambient language, both groups are delayed in their acquisition of morphosyntax. Method: Spontaneous language samples were analyzed for Dutch monolingual CI (N = 48) and SLI children (N = 38) on MLU, number of finite verbs, and number of errors in the target-like production of verbal agreement. CI and SLI children were compared on their linguistic profiles, including MLU and finite verb production, using the norms of typically developing (TD) children. Results: Statistical differences between CI and SLI children were found only for finite verb production at ages 5 and 6, in the direction of better outcomes for CI children. Both groups produced significant numbers of verbal agreement errors. Weak linguistic profiles were found for 75% of the SLI children and 35% of the CI children. Conclusion: CI and SLI children show both weak performances on the target-like production of verbal agreement. Nevertheless, CI children produce more finite verbs and have stronger linguistic profiles as compared to SLI children. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Bibliographical noteProceedings title: Oral first language acquisition children with a hearing impairment
Editors: M Coene, PJ Govaerts