PORTUGUESE JOURNAL OF SPEECH THERAPY
RPTF | VOLUME 1 | YEAR II
Acquisition of exhaustivity in european portuguese speaking children with typical development and specific language impairment
Purpose: Examining how children, native speakers of European Portuguese, acquire exhaustivity regarding three structures - interrogatives, clefts and universal quantifiers - and to determine the way children with specific language impairment, with affected syntax, diverge from typically developing children.
Methods: In order to study the aforementioned structures, we use results obtained in three previous experimental studies, which were obtained from 3 comprehension test using truth judgement tasks in which 180 typically developing children participated, divided by three age groups (3, 4 and 5 year olds), and 20 adults, who were tested as a control group. In the present study we applied the same tests to 24 children with Specific Language Impairment: 19 presented with phonological-syntactic Specific Language Impairment, 4 with lexical-syntactic Specific Language Impairment and 1 with morphosyntactic specific language impairment.
Results: The results obtained with typically developing children indicate that there is a developmental effect between 4 and 5 year olds. It was also concluded that exhaustivity is acquired at a different rate across structures both in typically developing and specific language impairment children. In both groups of children, the differ- ent rates at which exhaustivity is acquired may be explained by a higher complexity of some of the structures: besides exhaustivity, multiple wh-questions involve the mapping of two sets, and clefts involve comparing two groups.
Conclusions: Children with spe- cific language impairment seem to match with younger typically developing children, which reinforce the idea that they have a slower linguistic development in relation to their chronological age.
KEYWORDS: Typically developing, Specific language impairment, Acquisition, Exhaustivity.