Annoying Danish Relatives: Comprehension and production of relative clauses by children with and without SLI

Kristine M. Jensen de López, Lone Sundahl Olsen, V. Chondrigianni

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This study examines the comprehension and production of subject and object relative clauses (SRCs, ORCs) by children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and their typically developing (TD) peers. The purpose is to investigate whether relative clauses are problematic for Danish children with SLI and to compare errors with those produced by TD children. Eighteen children with SLI, eighteen TD age-matched (AM) and nine TD language-matched (LM) Danish-speaking children participated in a comprehension and in a production task. All children performed better on the comprehension compared with the production task, as well as on SRCs compared to ORCs and produced various avoidance strategies. In the ORC context, children with SLI produced more reversal errors than the AM children, who opted for passive ORCs. These results are discussed within current theories of SLI and indicate a deficiency with the assignment of thematic roles rather than with the structural make-up of RCs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)51-83
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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