1 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Volume 39, , December 1996 Toward Tense as a Clinical Marker of Specific Language Impairment in EnglishSpeaking Children Mabel L. Rice University of Kansas Lawrence Kenneth Wexler Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge A critical clinical issue is the identification of a clinical marker, a linguistic form or principle that can be shown to be characteristic of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). In this paper we evaluate, as candidate clinical markers, a set of morphemes that mark Tense. In English, this includes -s third person singular, -ed regular past, BE, and DO. According to the Extended Optional Infinitive Account (EOI) of Rice, Wexler, and Cleave (1995), this set of morphemes is likely to appear optionally in the grammars of children with SLI at a rate lower than the optionality evident in younger controls. Three groups of preschool children participated: 37 children with SLI, and two control groups, one of 40 MLU-equivalent children and another of 45 age-equivalent children. Three kinds of evidence support the conclusion that a set of morphemes that marks Tense can be considered a clinical marker: (a) low levels of accuracy for the target morphemes for the SLI group relative to either of the two control groups; (b) affectedness for the set of morphemes defined by the linguistic function of Tense, but not for morphemes unrelated to Tense; and (c) a bimodal distribution for Tense-marking morphemes relative to age peers, in which the typical children are at essentially adult levels of the grammar, whereas children in the SLI group were at low (i.e., non-adultlike) levels of performance. The clinical symptoms are evident in omissions of surface forms. Errors of subject-verb agreement and syntactic misuses are rare, showing that, as predicted, children in an EOI stage who are likely to mark Tense optionally at the same time know a great deal about the grammatical properties of finiteness and agreement in the adult grammar. The findings are discussed in terms of alternative accounts of the grammatical limitations of children with SLI and implications for clinical identification. KEY WORDS: specific language impairment, grammatical development, grammatical impairment, morphosyntax The diagnosis of children with specific language impairment (SLI) is a longstanding scientific and clinical issue. Although these children often perform below age expectation on their use of grammatical morphemes, the identification of a particular morpheme or set of morphemes that reliably distinguishes preschool children with SLI from language-equivalent comparison children has proven to be challenging. In a literature review, Leonard (1987) concluded that available evidence did not support a unique linguistic characteristic of SLI. A major empirical complication is that during the preschool years, children show considerable variation in their progress toward the adult grammar. What is needed is evidence of a grammatical marker that is different from that of the expected variation evident in nonaffected children (cf. Lahey, 1994). The potential value of a differentiating grammatical marker is highly significant for scientific and clinical reasons. Scientifically, it would point to areas of grammatical development in which children with SLI differ from nonaffected children, and clarify the ways in which the children with SLI follow the expected adult grammar and ways in which they do not follow the adult grammar. Clinically, such a grammatical 1996, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association /96/
2 1240 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research difference could be useful as a pathognomonic marker, that is, a behavioral characteristic typical of the condition of SLI. Such a marker could be used to identify affected individuals for the purpose of scientific investigation or intervention services. A crucial age for such a marker is the year before school entry, as a child is turning 5 years old. By this time children should be identified for intervention and prepared for the entry to school, where kindergarten teachers expect the children's morphological development to match the adult grammar. Children who show low levels of competence on the grammatical marker could be quickly identified for further, comprehensive evaluation. An important breakthrough in the search for a grammatical marker is a recent finding by Rice, Wexler, and Cleave (1995), demonstrating that preschool children with SLI show an extended period of use of nonfinite clauses (i.e., clauses that lack overt marking of finiteness). Following Wexler (1994), this was described as an Extended Optional Infinitive (EOI) stage, a period characterized by incomplete specification of grammatical tense (henceforth, TNS)' in the grammars of children with SLI. Two conclusions from the study of Rice et al. (1995) are of special importance here. One is that a set of TNS-marking morphemes appears to be affected, and this set is defined by the grammatical function of TNS-marking, not by surface properties such as phonetic salience. The second is that grammatical integrity co-exists with selective grammatical vulnerability. Children who do not know that TNS-marking is obligatory at the same time know the fundamental principles that govern finiteness-marking in clauses. The way they differ from the adult grammar is in the omission of TNSmarking; 2 overt errors of form choice, subject-verb agreement, or word order are likely to be rare. 3 'The term "TNS" is used here to emphasize that grammatical tense is a grammatical category at least partially independent of the semantic or pragmatic marking of temporal relationships (cf. Chomsky, 1993). In English, it includes past and nonpast tense contexts. The lack of semantic features is evident in the tense-carrying capacity of BE and DO forms, which are inserted solely for grammatical, not semantic, reasons. 2 1n order to avoid excessive wordiness, we use the terms "omit" and "omission" to mean that tense-markers are not evident in surface forms. Technically, the lack of surface markers is attributable to a lack of projection of the functional category of TNS for a particular utterance. The claim is not that children "omit" or are missing TNS altogether, but instead that they optionally omit the TNS projection from the representation of a given sentence, which leads to an omitted surface structure (in the case of English). The child's grammar accepts the sentence with and without the form, although the adult grammar requires the form. Sometimes we speak of the omitted form as an "incorrect" form. We mean by this that omission of the form is incorrect for the adult grammar. Of course, within the 01 model, the form is correct for the child's grammar. 30ne could wonder about evidence of word-order violations in non-english languages. For example, Grimm and her colleagues (Grimm, 1993; Grimm & Weinert, 1990) conclude that word-order errors are evident in Germanspeaking children with SLI. Our prediction is that word order is related to finiteness. Nonfinite forms should be likely in sentence-final position in German whereas finite forms move forward to a finiteness-carrying position (see Poeppel & Wexler, 1993, for normative information). This prediction is upheld in a reanalysis of the Grimm data carried out in a recent master's thesis (Noll, 1995). The conclusion is that word order is understood by German-speaking children with SLI, as is the relationship between syntax and finiteness. In other analyses underway of the data reported by Clahsen (1991), this effect seems to hold for most of the children with SLI. It may not hold for a small number of these children but there also is not enough information available to determine whether these children would fall under the standard definition of SLI. For example, cognitive status is unknown December 996 Because these findings reveal new characterizations of the grammar of children with SLI and chart new areas of empirical evidence, it is important that they receive further empirical investigation. In this investigation we were interested in whether the findings of Rice et al. (1995) are, when following the same experimental design, subject selection criteria, and measurement methods, replicable across different samples of children. Replicability is the gold standard for establishing empirical generalizations, one that is seldom established in studies of SLI, and we wished to determine if that standard could be met. In fact, detailed empirical evidence documenting the morphosyntax of children with SLI is remarkably meager. In the articles cited in the recent literature review of Lahey, Liebergott, Chesnick, Menyuk, and Adams (1992), the total number of children with SLI in the relevant age and MLU range and with careful sampling criteria is 28. Small sample size obviously limits the sort of analyses that can be undertaken, the power to detect group differences, and the plausible generalization of outcomes. This study is unique for a relatively large sample of 37 preschool children in the SLI group and with 85 control subjects for whom there is detailed morphosyntactic evidence. This constitutes the largest database of its type reported in the literature. We wished to extend the earlier findings of Rice et al. (1995) in two new ways. One is examination of possible overlap in the performance of children with SLI and their age peers. A useful clinical grammatical marker is one that would be outside the expected range of performance by nonaffected children. By age 5 years, most children have arrived at near-adultlike use of grammatical morphemes, so the expected variation in nonaffected children at this age is very small, because their performance levels should be near ceiling. In contrast, if children with SLI can be detected by their performance on some of these morphemes (i.e., a candidate clinical marker), individuals in this group should show a different distribution, one that clusters individual scores near the bottom levels of accuracy. In effect, for this area of the grammar, a clinical marker would be one that would show variation across children where no variation is expected (cf. Rice, 1996). Distributional evidence of this sort for grammatical morphemes has not been available. Lahey (1994) and Lahey et al. (1992) approached the issue of individual variability with comparisons of children at equivalent levels of mean length of utterance. They studied a sample of normally developing preschool children. They measured the children's mean length of utterance and spontaneous use of grammatical morphemes in samples of spontaneous utterances and then compared the obtained percentage correct use in obligatory contexts for target morphemes with percentages reported by other investigators in studies of children with SLI. The hazards in such an approach are twofold: Samples of spontaneous speech can yield unreliable measurements because of sampling variations (as noted by Lahey, 1994) and the ways in which percentage values are calculated can vary from one investigator to another. What is needed is empirical measurement drawn from experimental probes as well as spontaneous utterances and with measures from each calculated in the same way for all children, in order to allow for direct
3 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1241 comparisons across groups and across studies. This study was designed to collect such data. The second new direction is to include two kinds of comparison morphemes. One kind of control morpheme is predicted not to be directly related to tense-marking and, therefore, would not show the properties of a grammatical marker. In this study, the unrelated, non-tense-marking control morphemes are regular plural -s, the prepositions in and on, and progressive -ing. Performance on these morphemes will, we argue, help clarify the extent to which there is selective involvement in tense-marking versus a general problem with grammatical morphemes. If children with SLI are simply "slow" in acquisition of morphology, a selective grammatical marker would not be expected (cf. Curtiss, Katz, & Tallal, 1992; Lahey, 1994; Lahey et al., 1992). A second kind of comparison morpheme is also non-tensemarking, but is predicted to be related to tense-marking in the underlying grammatical representations. In this study, we examine children's use of the articles a and the as related control morphemes. Finiteness as a Grammatical Property In English, as for most languages, finiteness is an obligatory property of main (root) clauses. Finiteness is marked on verbs, which can appear in finite or nonfinite forms. Finite forms are those marked for TNS and grammatical agreement (henceforth, AGR). In examples 1 and 2 the forms of walk are finite, whereas in examples 3 and 4 the forms are nonfinite. 1. a. They walk. b. They walked. 2. a. She walks. b. She walked. 3. a. She liked to walk. b. *She liked to walks. 4. a. She made him walk. b. *She made him walks. In English, finiteness marking may or may not appear on a surface form. Bare stem forms of lexical verbs may be finite, as in la. In this case the bare stem carries invisible features for TNS/AGR that are checked in the syntactic level of the grammar. In contrast, in 3a and 4a the bare stem, walk is nonfinite. This can be shown by the fact that application of finiteness markers renders the sentence ungrammatical, as in 3b and 4b. Finiteness can be marked on lexical verbs or on BE and DO forms, which do not carry lexicalized semantic information. For example: 5. a. She does/did not walk. b. *She does not walks. 6. a. She is/was walking. b. *She is walks. 7. She is happy. If BE or DO is present as the first (i.e., leftmost) auxiliary verb (e.g., 5 and 6), or as the main (copula) verb (e.g., 7), it is finite. One way we know that is because finiteness cannot appear elsewhere in the clause, as in 5b or 6b. Omissions of BE and DO in these contexts, then, can be considered as omissions of TNS/AGR marking. In this framework, TNS and AGR are evident in the present-tense marking of -s on lexical verbs, in the pasttense marking of -ed, and in the insertion of BE and DO forms. Omissions of these forms are interpreted as omissions of TNS/AGR markers. At the same time, -s shows agreement with the third-person singular subject (-ed does not show agreement in that the same form is used across different persons and number markings of the subject) and the BE and DO forms also vary according to person and number of the subject, thereby revealing agreement markings. AGR is illustrated in utterances 8 and 9, where 8a and 9a show AGR and 8b and 9b show nonagreeing, ungrammatical uses of -s and BE. In these ways, the morphological forms of verbs can reveal information about the underlying grammatical categories of TNS and AGR, even though the distinctions are subtle in English. 8. a. I walk. b. *1 walks. 9. a. She is happy. b. *She are happy. Optional Infinitives as a Normative Expectation Although finiteness is obligatory in matrix (main) clauses in the adult grammar, young children early on use nonfinite (infinitival) forms as well as finite forms of verbs in grammatical contexts where finite forms are required. Wexler (1994) called this the Optional Infinitive (01) stage because infinitives were optional in finite contexts (i.e., in a given sample of spontaneous utterances, children sometimes used infinitival forms and sometimes used finite forms of the main verb). This phenomenon was first described for French (Pierce, 1992) and Dutch (Weverink, 1990), languages in which the infinitival forms often differ phonetically from the finite forms, thereby rendering the distinction detectable in children's utterances. Wexler showed that the phenomenon exists for many (but not all) languages, including Danish, Faroese, German, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish. Wexler (1994) argued that the same phenomenon existed for English, although it is not as obvious because of the use of bare stem lexical verbs in both finite and nonfinite contexts. In particular, he predicted the following: For the -s and -ed markings on lexical verbs, as in 1 and 2 above, bare stems may optionally be used where inflected forms are required and auxiliary and main verb uses of BE may be omitted, as well as auxiliary (but not main verb) DO (cf. Jaeggli & Hyams, 1987; Pollock, 1989, for further discussions of the finitenessmarking properties of BE and DO). Wexler (1994) further proposed that when children in the 01 stage use TNS-marked finite forms, they also show subject-verb agreement (AGR; i.e., ungrammatical utter-
4 1242 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research ances such as those in 8b and 9b above should appear rarely if at all). Subsequent studies show that AGR appears to be a property of the 01 stage (cf. Harris & Wexler, in press; Poeppel & Wexler, 1993; see Table 2 in Clahsen, Penke, & Parodi, 1994, for supportive evidence). Furthermore, fundamental to Wexler's analysis was the observation that when the child in the 01 stage uses a finite form, it appears in finite grammatical contexts and when the child uses a nonfinite (untensed) form, it appears in nonfinite grammatical contexts. For example, utterances such as 4b above should not appear. These observations have received a good deal of empirical support (for English see Rice et al., 1995; Wexler 1994). Considering the full set of properties of the 01 stage, for English the prediction is that -s, -ed, BE, and DO forms are likely to be omitted, but, when they appear, they are likely to be restricted to finite contexts and to show AGR (subject-verb agreement) when they are used. Underspecificity of functional categories: TNS, morphemes related to TNS, and non-tns-marking forms. One way to think of the 01 stage is as a period of time in which TNS is underspecified in children's grammars, which is to say that in some fundamental ways children's understanding of grammatical TNS is different from that required of the adult grammar. One way to formalize this notion is to say simply that in the 01 stage, children may omit the TNS projection from their representation of the sentence, although the TNS projection is obligatory for adults (Bromberg & Wexler, 1995; Wexler, 1994,1996). The exact nature of the sentences that lack TNS is an important matter of current inquiry (Bromberg & Wexler, 1995; Deprez, 1994; Hyams, 1996; Phillips, 1995; Rizzi, 1994; Wexler, 1994, 1996; Whitman, 1994). For the purposes of this study, it is sufficient to assume that TNS is omitted from the child's representations of some sentences. One crucial property, first pointed out in Wexler's (1994) original description and agreed on by all the above accounts, is that TNS is only optionally omitted, that children in the 01 stage in fact do have the capacity to correctly represent TNS, but do not always do this. 4 It may be that the underspecification of TNS is too narrow a way to frame the hypothesis about what children in the 01 stage are missing. It may be, for example, that children might omit those functional categories that relate to the expression of reference. 5 6 These include not only TNS, 4 This conclusion contrasts with the suggestion of some, including Lebeaux (1990) and Radford (1990), that young children do not have the capacity to represent functional categories at all. The empirical evidence in the papers mentioned in the text, as well as in the current paper, are not consistent with this hypothesis. 5 1n this context, "reference" involves meanings and discourse pragmatics, in particular, reference fixes the interpretation of a linguistic item in a discourse domain. Determiners, such as the articles a and the, denote definiteness/ specificity. Tense denotes time (past or nonpast) relative to speech or reference time. Determiners and tense are also functional grammatical categories that serve as the head of a projected phrase structure. In English, the determiner category includes a, the, this, that, these, those, every, some. 6 The hypothesis of underspecified grammatical reference as put forth by Hyams (1996) and Wexler (1996) should not be confused with a claim that the children do not understand the conceptual notions of past and nonpast. It is assumed that children do understand the temporal distinctions of past and nonpast (e.g., they are not optionally confusing prior time with present time). In the case of article use, a distinction should be drawn between knowledge that a DET projection is required (what is investigated in this study) and which relates to temporal reference, but also DET, the determiner (e.g., a/the in English), which relates to nominal discourse reference. Hyams (1996) and Wexler (1996) suggest that underspecificity of TNS is likely to be related to underspecificity of representation of determiners that appear in the noun phrase. Thus, children who omit articles, such as a/the, as in 10, might be likely to omit TNS-markers as well. 10. *Hayley draw boat December 996 The theoretical underpinning of Determiner drop has been less well studied than that of TNS drop, and there have not been many studies that show the empirical relations between these. Thus, the relation of TNS omission to DET omission must be taken as more tentative. Nevertheless, we will study this phenomenon in this paper. We take these observations to mean that grammatical morphemes observable in obligatory contexts in child utterances can be subdivided into groups according to TNSmarking. One group of morphemes is marked for TNS, and, when omitted in finite contexts, can be taken as optional infinitives in English: -s, -ed, BE, and DO. A second set of morphemes do not mark TNS but also involve the grammatical specification of reference and might also be optional in the 01 stage. This set would include the determiners, a/the. 7 A third set of morphemes does not mark TNS and does not share other grammatical properties with TNS. Among those morphemes in English are the following: -s regular plural affixation (as in These cats), -ing progressive (as in The cats are eating), the prepositions in and on (as in The cats are in the house). Comparisons of children's performance on these three kinds of morphemes would show the extent to which TNS-marking could be selectively underspecified in children with SLI. 01 as Compared to a Developmental Perspective Because much of the existing literature on the morphology of children with SLI is based on a developmental perspective, it is appropriate to compare the 01 model to the traditional developmental model. The classic descriptive study of children's acquisition of grammatical morphemes was Brown's (1973) pioneering work in which he identified 14 English morphemes for investigation in the utterances of three young children. These morphemes, in mean order of knowledge of the specific/nonspecific distinction marked by a and the. Our analyses do not speak to the question of whether children use a and the in correct discourse contexts. It has been suggested, for example, that normally developing children sometimes confuse a and the (Maratsos, 1976). An earlier master's thesis by Beastrom (1986) showed that this confusion is evident in preschool children with SLI, as well. 7 Another part of the grammar linked to finiteness is case-marking (cf. Chomsky, 1993; Haegeman, 1995; Radford, 1995; Rizzi, 1994; Schutze & Wexler, 1996). The basic notion is that case is assigned or "checked" in the domain of the matrix verb. More precisely, finite verbs in an INFL projection assign nominative case to subject position. The exact nature of children's knowledge of this relationship is a matter of important current inquiry. The 01 model predicts that young typically developing children will know that when the verb takes agreement, the case on the subject must be nominative, a prediction that held in the findings of Schutze and Wexler (1996). Predictions for an EOI stage are formulated and under evaluation in an ongoing study carried out by Schutze, Wexler, and Rice (1996).
5 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1243 acquisition, are: progressive -ing, prepositions in and on, plural -s, past irregular (e.g., "went"), possessive -s, uncontractible copula, articles (a, the), past regular (-ed), third person regular (-s), third person irregular (e.g., does), uncontractible auxiliary, contractible copula, and contractible auxiliary. The morphemes were chosen for study with a rather practical criterion in mind, that of selecting a set of morphemes that were most amenable to measurement in the spontaneous utterances of young children. The choice of morphemes was atheoretic with regard to models of the adult grammar. The order of acquisition for these 14 morphemes has been widely reported in textbooks and has come to be accepted as a sort of benchmark for considerations of children's grammatical acquisition, even though the actual empirical evidence is relatively sparse (i.e., the three children of Brown and an additional 21 children of de Villiers & de Villiers (1973), all in the age range of 1:4-3:4). It is important to note that only 7 of the observed morphemes were acquired in the time period sampled, where "acquisition" is defined as correct in 90% of obligatory contexts (for discussion, see Ingram, 1989). In these studies, general notions of semantic and syntactic complexity were invoked as reasons for the order of emergence, although this explanation is limited by a lack of a theoretical account of either kind of complexity. With reference to this study's objectives, the limitations of the early work on morphology are the following: (a) There is no way to derive independent predictions for children's grammatical knowledge from theories of the adult grammar (and, by extension, to Universal Grammar); (b) the morphemes are treated as independent entities, to be acquired one at a time; (c) the emphasis on 90% correct in obligatory contexts overlooks what is known about grammatical representations during a period in which performance is below this level; (d) empirical evidence is unavailable for later periods of acquisition of seven of the morphemes, which proves to be crucial for understanding what is happening in the grammars of children with SLI. These limitations are addressed by the 01 model and in the work reported here. Predictions for children's grammar are derived from a theory of the structural representations of clauses in the adult grammar. In the modern theory of functional categories, based on analyses of the adult grammar (cf. Chomsky, 1993), morphemes such as -ed and -s and BE are intrinsically syntactic in nature, closely related to rules for verb movement and word order. Several consequences are of relevance here. One is that a set of surface morphemes are identified as sharing the grammatical property of finiteness. Thus, the previously identified third person -s, past tense -ed, and the BE forms (irrespective of contractibility) all share the property of tense-marking. The second is that an additional morpheme is identified as of the same group (i.e., DO, a morpheme not included in Brown's list). Third, precise predictions follow from the use of finite forms. One important prediction is that certain errors should not appear, such as those in 3b, 4b, 5b, 6b, 8b, and 9b above, and it is essential to highlight that these characterizations are drawn from theories of adult grammar, quite independent of observations of children's knowledge. Fourth, other grammatical morphemes can be characterized in terms of their morphosyntactic properties. Thus, plurals and prepositions and the verbal affix for progressive aspect, -ing, do not mark TNS. What is explored here is a possible relationship between the functional categories of DET and TNS. Finally, this work picks up the question of morpheme acquisition at stages later than those examined in the earlier work. We are interested in the acquisition of TNS, which is beyond the empirical evidence of traditional developmental data. In these ways, the 01 framework points toward new interpretations of morphosyntax and highlights the need for new empirical evidence. Tense-Marking as a Problem Space for Children With SLI: Extended Optional Infinitives Rice et al. (1995) was designed to test the predictions of an extended period of 01 for English-speaking children with SLI. These predictions focused on optional TNS-marking and two related properties: knowledge of the contexts where finiteness is to be expressed in sentences and AGR marking on finite forms of verbs. The morphemes investigated were the -s, -ed, BE, and DO forms shown in 1-7 above. The main findings were the following: For each of the morphemes, as predicted, children in the SLI group showed a lower level of use in obligatory contexts than children in either of the two control groups. Although their age peers used these morphemes in 90% or more of the required contexts, children with SLI used them in only 25%-48% of the required contexts. Younger, nonaffected children at equivalent mean lengths of utterance had percentage values in between the SLI and age-matched groups, 45%-70%. Even though children in the SLI group had a high probability of omitting TNS-marking, possible errors of use were very rare and, when a finite form was used, it was very likely to be the verb form specified by the number and person features on the subject. Such findings we take to be supportive of an Extended Optional Infinitive (EOI) model of SLI, in which TNS-marking is an optional, underspecified area of the grammar for affected children, an underspecification of the same sort as apparent for younger normally developing children but markedly extended in the older children with SLI. EOI Versus "Simple Delay" Model This study builds on Rice et al. (1995) in three ways. First, replication of findings was assessed. Independent samples of children were recruited, following the same subject criteria, and the same procedures and measurement methods were followed for the morphemes evaluated in Rice et al. (1995). Second, comparison morphemes were included, one set of which was predicted not to be affected in the same way as TNS and a second set that was predicted to also show affectedness for the SLI group. Third, distributional evidence was obtained to examine the extent to which the performance levels of children in the SLI group overlapped with their age peers and children of equivalent levels of mean length of utterance.
6 1244 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research Methods Participants Two separate samplings of participants were included in this investigation, for a total of 122 children. The children are distributed across three groups: a total of 37 preschool children in an SLI group, with a mean age of 58 months (range, months); 8 a chronological age equivalent group of 45 preschool children, M age = 60 months (range, months; henceforth, the 5N group to indicate the mean age of 5 years); a language equivalent group of 40 children, M age = 36 months (range, months; henceforth, the 3N group to indicate the mean age of 3 years). See Table 1 for descriptive information of the present study and of Rice et al. (1995), where the latter is referred to as Study 1 and the former as Study 2. New participants in this study were recruited who met the subject selection criteria of Rice et al. (1995), with a few additional refinements. As in the earlier study, children with SLI were recruited from the caseloads of certified speechlanguage pathologists serving preschool children. All children in the SLI group had been identified as language impaired and were receiving preschool intervention services. None of the children had been diagnosed as behaviorally disturbed and their speech-language pathologists reported their social development to be within normative expectations. Their intellectual functioning was above clinical levels of intellectual impairment. All subjects scored an age deviation score of 85 or above on the Columbia Mental Maturity Scale (CMMS; Burgemeister, Blum, & Lorge, 1972), and they passed a hearing screening at 25dB (30dB in noisy environments) at 1-, 2-, and 4000Hz. Children with multiple and severe articulation errors were not included. The Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation (Goldman & Fristoe, 1986) was administered to describe their single word production. All children passed a phonological screening consisting of nonimitated production of five monosyllabic words in each of four phonetic contexts: final -s, -z, -t, or -d. In order to pass, children needed accurate production of the target sounds or a phonologically consistent approximation. Children with consistently produced (i.e., intelligible) mispronunciations of /s/, /sh/, /ch/, /r/, and /I/ are included. Most of these are lateral emission or interdental productions of the sibilants and w/r or w/l substitutions. The receptive and expressive language performance of children in the SLI group fell below age expectations. Each child scored one or more standard deviations below the mean on the receptive measure, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT-R; Dunn & Dunn, 1981), and on the expressive measure, the mean length of utterance (MLU), calculated from a sample of at least 150 spontaneous utterances and the normative information provided by Lead- 8 Three additional children were recruited into the SLI group but were not included in these analyses because they are twin siblings of other participants. To include them would violate the independence of observation assumptions of the inferential statistics employed in the analyses. holm and Miller (1993). In addition, the Test of Language Development-Primary (TOLD-P; Newcomer & Hammill, 1988) was administered to each child. The group mean on the Spoken Language Quotient (where M = 100 and SD = 15) is Two children were within one standard deviation of the mean on this test, with quotients of 88 and 93, but were included because they met the other criteria. Children in the 5N and 3N groups were drawn from preschool attendance centers in the same communities as the children in the SLI group. These children were regarded as "normally developing" by their classroom teachers, passed the hearing screening, and their scores on the PPVT-R and the TOLD-P were in the normal to high normal range. The children in the 3N group had MLU values that were within ± one SD of the mean expected for age. In order to ensure equivalent levels across the two groups, each subject in the MLU group was within.10 morphemes of at least one child in the SLI group. The CMMS was administered to the children in the 5N group at the outset of the study. Their scores were in the normal to high normal range, Children in the 3N group were too young to receive the CMMS at the time of the other measures. Because these children are participating in a longitudinal study, CMMS scores are available for these children one year later. These are reported in Table 1, where it can be seen that the scores are in the normal to high normal range, Procedures December 996 The experimental measures were derived from language samples and linguistic probes, following the same protocols as those of the Rice et al. (1995) study. For the target morphemes marking TNS, spontaneous language samples yielded measures of -ed, -s, and BE. Because -ed and -s forms sometimes appear infrequently in spontaneous speech, BE uses may be restricted to third person subjects in declarative sentences, and non-negative uses of DO are infrequent, the spontaneous measures were supplemented with experimental probe measures, for past tense -ed and -s, and BE and DO. For example, for the regular past tense probe, children were shown pairs of picture cards. In the first card, a child was depicted in some activity. The participant was told "here the boy is raking leaves." The next card showed the boy leaning against a rake beside a pile of leaves. The participant was asked to say what the boy did. Participants were encouraged to provide a complete sentence in their reply, with an overt subject. There were a total of 11 items for regular past tense; 12 for third person singular -s. The BE and DO probe activities involved play with a puppet and stuffed animals. Participants were told that people cannot understand animals but this puppet (manipulated by the examiner) could. Children were encouraged to ask about the animals, for example, "is he cold"? or "are they hungry"? and to describe them, for example, "he is furry" and so on, in order to elicit copular and auxiliary forms of BE in declaratives and questions and question forms of
7 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1245 DO, as in "does he want a cookie"? 9 The intent was to elicit multiple tokens (a minimum of 4-6 for each context) for third person singular and plural and second person subjects, in declarative and interrogative sentences. Spontaneous language samples were collected from each of the children. In order to maximize the likelihood of utterances relevant for the planned analyses, the following principles were followed: Attempt to elicit a minimum of 200 utterances per child (M = for the SLI group; for 5N; for 3N); minimize the frequency of examiner questions to the child; utilize toys known to elicit simple descriptive narrative scenarios, such as toy people, houses, and furnishings; occasionally focus the child's attention on actions that in English are likely to be named with regular verb stems (as a way of enhancing the number of regular verbs and minimizing children's tendency to rely on frequently appearing irregular verb stems). (See Rice et al., 1995, for further details about the procedures.) Testing and experimental tasks were administered in 3-4 individual sessions of minutes in length, typically over a 3-4 day period. Data analyses of the 122 spontaneous samples was carried out with computerized electronic records, the SALT program for calculation of MLU values and generation of concordance listings for each morpheme (Miller & Chapman, 1991), and visual inspection and hand counts of coded uses, omissions, and errors. Each utterance was coded for obligatory context for the target morphemes, omissions, and non-adultlike uses. Reliability In order to ensure that the transcription and coding was carried out in the same way across research assistants, a priori grammatical coding procedures were described in a coding manual (Howe, 1992) and research assistants were trained in this system (cf. Rice et al., 1995, for further details). For transcription training, for 10% of the transcripts, child utterances were transcribed by two different transcribers. Agreement of transcription (including utterance segmentation) was 89%, ranging from 87%-99% point-to-point agreement between two transcribers. For the samples reported here, initial transcription of the child's utterances and grammatical coding were completed by the research assistant who collected the sample. Grammatical coding was verified by a second expert coder. Typically, each transcript contains codes. Code verification yields one or two coding changes per transcript; pairwise comparisons 9Dropping of DO in "Do you want a cookie"? can be regarded as allowable in discourse contexts. For that reason, utterances with DO drop in second person singular questions were dropped from the analyses in Rice et al. (1995). The effect of this adjustment is to inflate somewhat the accuracy estimate for children who are 01 because it assumes that DO omission is attributable to a discourse option. In the second sampling, analyses showed that the proportion of omissions for third person and second person contexts are very similar and only two children in each group showed even a weak pattern of discourse DO drop (i.e., omission of DO only in second person contexts). Calculation of the proportion correct unadjusted for second person for the SLI group is 25%; adjusted is 34% (same as Study 1). Our conclusion is that the low performance on DO is not an artifact of discourse optionality. We opted for the unadjusted value for Study 2. across two coders over 11 transcripts yielded a level of agreement of 96% (range, 89%-98%). For the probe data, our earlier experience with the probes showed that the agreement between two coders was high (over 95%). In this study the research assistants were trained to administer the probes in pilot work with young children. Each protocol was coded in a group meeting of the team of research assistants. Formal evaluation of pairwise independent coding (with 7 pairs per task) yielded agreement estimates of 97%-100% for each of the probes. Results Replicability of Group Data for TNS Morphemes Percentage correct in obligatory contexts. Table 2 contains means and standard deviations for percentage of TNS morphemes produced in obligatory contexts. As is apparent in the table and in Figures 1-7, the mean values are highly similar in the two studies. Univariate t-tests for each of the variables, within groups, confirmed that there were no significant differences between the two studies for any of the TNS measures, suggesting that the subjects are drawn from the same general population. Given this finding, subjects from the two studies were collapsed within groups, yielding a total N of 37 for the SLI group, 40 in the 3N group, and 45 in the 5N group. A series of univariate ANOVAs, with group as a betweensubjects factor, were carried out to examine group differences. For each of the measures, the overall F value was statistically significant. Individual F values and associated eta squared (effect size) are as follows: -ed probe, F(2, 119) = 69.16, p <.001 (eta squared =.54); -ed spontaneous, F(2, 104) = 47.16, p <.001 (.48); -s probe, F(2, 119) = 69.53, p <.001 (.54); -s spontaneous, F(2, 118) = 33.65, p <.001 (.36); BE probe, F(2, 118) = 38.58, p <.001 (.40); BE spontaneous, F(2, 119) = 64.99, p <.001 (.52); DO probe F(2, 109) = 44.39, p <.001 (.45). As indicated by the relatively large eta squared values, about half of the variance observed is attributable to group differences. Pairwise posthoc comparisons indicated that SLI < 3N and SLI < 5N for each of the measures, p <.01. Calculation of Cohen's effect size (Cohen, 1988), d, yields effect sizes of standard deviations, values that are extraordinarily robust for behavioral science. Considered as a set of findings, the results from the two studies show that each of the TNS morphemes reliably differentiates the performance of children in the SLI group from those in the 3N language-equivalent group (and, of course, the 5N group as well). This finding holds for main lexical verb marking as well as for the BE and DO forms. Subject/verb agreement and errors on nonfiniteness. Further analyses were carried out on Study 2 findings to examine predicted outcomes for agreement. Rice et al. (1995) examined the children's use of the target affixes, -ed and -s, to determine if they were misapplied to stems in contexts where these forms are not allowed. This would include affixing -s to verbs appearing with subjects other than third person singular, applying -ed to nonpast contexts,
8 1246 Journa! of Speech and Hearing Research December 996 TABLE 1. Subject profiles summarized by group for each study. Study le N = 18 M Range SD Study 2' N = 19 M Range SD Study 1 and 2 combined N M SD Study 1 g N = 22 M Range SD Study 2 h N = 23 M Range SD Study 1 and 2 combined N = 45 M SD Study 1' N = 20 M Range SD Study 2' N = 20 M Range SD Study 1 and 2 combined N = 40 M SD Age Columbia" PPVTb MLU c TOLD-P2d SLI group N group N group acolumbia Mental Maturity Scale, Age deviation score reported. bpeabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised, Standard score reported. CMean Length of Utterance (calculated on complete and intelligible utterances, using SALT1) dtest of Language Development-Primary, 2nd edition. Values of 3N subjects in Study 2 indicate scores for the Test of Early Language Development (TELD). TOLD-P2 scores were not available for subjects in Study 1 because these children were identified on the basis of test scores available in clinical records, only some of which were TOLD scores. esli Study 1: Total N = 18 (10 males, 8 females) fsli Study 2: Total N = 19 (13 males, 6 females) 9 5N Study 1: Total N = 19 (13 males, 6 females) h5n Study 2: Total N = 23 (11 males, 12 females) '3N Study 1: Total N = 20 (9 males, 11 females) '3N Study 2: Total N = 20 (10 males, 10 females) and inserting a finite form of the verb in nonfinite contexts, such as *he made the dog barks. These possible errors were marked as errors in the morpheme coding and all utterances in which error codes appeared were visually inspected and tabulated. As was the case in Study 1, in Study 2 this form of error is rare for all three groups of children. For the SLI group, in the spontaneous samples one error occurred out of 75 total uses of -ed, for an overall rate of 1%; a total of 6 errors occurred out of 295 total uses of -s, for an overall rate of 2%. For the 3N group, 0 errors occurred out of 67 total uses of -ed; 2 errors out of 366 total uses of -s, for a rate of.5%. For the 5N group, there was 1 error out of 89 uses of -ed, for a rate of 1%; 0 errors out of 250 total uses of -s. Following Rice et al. (1995) we examined the choice of forms of BE. In these analyses, each use of a BE form (i.e., am, is, are), was coded for agreement with the subject (e.g.,
9 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1247 TABLE 2. Percentage correct probes and spontaneous speech: Means and standard deviations (in parentheses). Group SLI 3N 5N Study & & &2 -ed probe 25% 29% 27% 41% 47% 44% 92% 92% 92% (26) (22) (24) (38) (34) (36) (14) (18) (16) -ed spontaneous 30% 13% 22% 46% 49% 48% 93% 91% 92% (38) (20) (32) (43) (38) (40) (18) (25) (22) -s probe 26% 19% 23% 45% 42% 44% 95% 89% 92% (23) (25) (24) (45) (33) (39) (13) (17) (15) -s spontaneous 37% 34% 36% 56% 65% 61% 84% 92% 88% (30) (31) (32) (41) (27) (34) (21) (08) (16) be probe 48% 52% 50% 64% 65% 64% 99% 92% 95% (29) (28) (28) (34) (27) (30) (02) (10) (08) be spontaneous 46% 47% 47% 68% 75% 70% 97% 95% 96% (24) (24) (24) (24) (23) (24) (05) (05) (05) do probe 34% 25% 29% 45% 50% 48% 96% 86% 90% (40) (28) (34) (42) (36) (38) (10) (17) (15) I am was correct; they am was incorrect). As in the earlier study, children in all three groups showed a high likelihood that the form of BE that appeared would be the one specified by the subject. For each child' 0 the percentage of BE forms that showed correct agreement was calculated. For example, for am, we calculated the proportion of the uses of am in which the subject was first person singular (i.e., I). We averaged these calculations over all finite forms of BE. The group means and standard deviations are as follows: BE probes-sli, 89% (15); 3N, 91% (11); 5N, 94% (10); BE spontaneous-sli, 94% (10); 3N, 99 (02; values for the 5N group were not calculated because of the time investment required and the likely redundancy of the pattern). Occasional errors of non-inversion in questions, evi- ' Children were not excluded from these analyses for minimal occurrences of the forms. For the probe data, two children in the SLI group, and two in the 3N group had fewer than 5 occurrences, where the mean frequency for the SLI group was occurrences and for the 3N group was For the spontaneous data, one child in the SLI group had fewer than 3 occurrences, with a group mean value of 34. dent in the 3N as well as the SLI groups, were not included in these counts of agreement. The findings regarding agreement of BE forms are further corroborated by Cleave and Rice (in press). In this study, a subsample of the subjects in the replication study reported here participated in procedures designed to elicit large numbers of spontaneous occurrences of BE forms in contractible and noncontractible linguistic contexts. In those transcript analyses, the overall rate of non-omission errors for forms of BE in obligatory contexts was 6% for the SLI group and 4% for the 3N group, a statistically nonsignificant difference. For both groups of children, occasional errors of agreement and non-inversion appeared. The important empirical conclusion is that children who are quite likely to omit -ed, -s, or BE forms in obligatory contexts are, at the same time, very likely to use the forms correctly in allowable linguistic contexts. This is to say that finite and nonfinite forms of verbs appear in different positions, essentially in exactly the positions in which they may appear in the adult grammar. Furthermore, the children choose the surface form that shows agreement with the number and person marking on the subject, revealing further FIGURE 1. Third person singular -s Spontaneous. FIGURE 2. Third person singular -s Probe.
10 1248 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research December 996 FIGURE 3. -ed Spontaneous. knowledge of the grammatical feature-checking system that is operative in the adult grammar. Comparison Morphemes Further analyses of the transcript records of the children's spontaneous speech focused on two kinds of comparison morphemes. One set of morphemes was predicted to be unrelated to TNS, a set that included regular is plurals on nouns, the prepositions in and on, and the progressive -ing on verbs. Another category of morphemes, that of the articles a and the, was predicted to show affectedness because of underlying grammatical relationships. For each participant a percentage correct in obligatory contexts was calculated for each of the morphemes. In the grammatical coding system, the articles a and the were combined, so are reported as a single value. Preliminary analyses showed that the results from the Rice et al. (1995) sample were replicated in the second sample of participants, so the two samples were collapsed for the calculation of group means. Also, the values of in and on were very similar so are collapsed here. The group means and standard deviations are reported in Table 3. FIGURE 5. BE Spontaneous. It is clear from the table that the levels of accuracy for the non-tns-related morphemes were much different from those evident in the TNS cluster and for the articles, which are predicted to be related to TNS. The children in the SLI group were at high levels of accuracy (near or above 90%) on plural -s, in/on and -ing, as were the children in the two control groups. These findings for regular plurals replicated those reported by Rice and Oetting (1993) for a similar sample of 50 children with SLI (in this case, the mean value was 88%, which was somewhat higher than the 83% reported in the Rice & Oetting, 1993, study). This evidence, in combination with that of Oetting and Rice (1993) showed that -s regular plurals were not likely to show clinical deficits for SLI children in the 4- to 5-year-old age range. The picture for the articles, a/the, was much different. The SLI group and the younger 3N group were at lower levels of accuracy (i.e., 62% and 75%). Univariate ANOVAs, with group as a between-subjects factor, revealed that the mean level of accuracy for the use of a/the differed across the three groups, F(2, 119) = 24.94, p <.001. The effect size was lower than that obtained for the TNS-marking morphemes: eta squared =.30. Post-hoc pairwise comparisons showed that SLI < 3N, as well as SLI < 5N. As with the FIGURE 4. -ed Probe. FIGURE 6. BE Probe.
11 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1249 FIGURE 8. Distribution of children's performance on third person singular -s within groups (spontaneous). FIGURE 7. DO Probe. TNS-marking set of morphemes, the way in which article use differed from that of the adult grammar was that the articles were omitted in obligatory contexts. They rarely appeared in grammatical contexts where the adult grammar does not allow them. For example, errors such as *the runs or *boy the runs did not appear. This suggests that optional use of articles might be part of an EOI stage and part of the clinical marker of EOI. If so, the relationship between group status and morpheme accuracy should be parallel for both kinds of morphemes. This was examined with a univariate ANOVA in which group was a between-groups factor (using the SLI and 3N groups) and morpheme type was a within-groups factor. A collapsed value for BE was selected for comparison because the BE level of performance was closest to that of articles and, therefore, was the most conservative test of possible morpheme main effect. The dependent variable was percent correct in obligatory contexts. There were significant main effects for group, F(1, 75) = 12.91, p <.001 (eta squared =.176) and morpheme, F(1, 75) = 15.98, p <.001 (.016), but no significant interaction, F(1, 75) = 1.24, p >.05, indicating that the apparent advantage of the 3N group was parallel across the two kinds of morphemes. However, the level of performance on a/the is (statistically) reliably higher than that of BE, for both groups. Also note that the effect size for the morpheme contrast is relatively small. Individual Variations: Distributional Data The previous analyses have examined group means and standard deviations as a way of investigating the differences between children in the SLI group and children in the control groups. These findings show that, as a group, children with SLI show lower accuracy than their language-equivalent peers in their use of the TNS-marking morphemes and morphemes thought to be related to TNS, but do not differ from younger children, or from their age peers, in their use of non-tns-related morphemes. Another way to consider the performance levels of the children in the three groups is to examine the distribution of children according to accuracy levels. Those distributions are reported in Figures 8-17, generated by SPSS for Windows 6.0 (Norusis, 1993). In these box plots, the solid box shows the 25th to 75th percentile range, capturing 50% of the cases. The line in the middle of each box is the median value. The length of the box shows the variability in observations. If the median is not in the center of the box, the observed values are skewed; a median close to the bottom indicates a positive skew, in which the tail is to the right (i.e., fewer cases are at the top levels of accuracy). The vertical lines from the box represent the largest and smallest observed values that are not outliers. These figures dramatically reveal that the children with SLI, in their year prior to kindergarten, differ greatly from their age peers in their use of grammatical morphemes marking TNS (i.e., -ed, -s, BE, and DO). By the time they go to school, most children know that TNS-marking is obligatory in root clauses. This is evident in the small boxes at the uppermost TABLE 3. Percentage correct in obligatory contexts in spontaneous utterances, for each group: Means and standard deviations (in parentheses). SLI 3N 5N plural -s 88% 97% 97% in/on (19) 96% (09) 97% (06) 98% -ing (07) 92% (06) 90% (04) 99% a/the (11) 62% (18) 75% (02) 90% (25) (20) (09) FIGURE 9. Distribution of children's performance on third person singular -s within groups (probe).
12 1250 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research December 1996 FIGURE 10. Distribution of children's performance on -ed within groups (spontaneous). levels of accuracy for the 5N group of children, for the entire set of TNS morphemes. In contrast, the children in the SLI group cluster at the low end of accuracy, for each of the TNS morphemes, whether measured in spontaneous speech or in probe items. There is virtually no overlap of the boxes for any of the measures of TNS. The degree of nonoverlap, assuming a normative distribution, can be estimated by calculating Cohen's effect-size d, and converting that to U measures (Cohen, 1988). The d values calculated conservatively for the SLI/CA contrast (using averaged standard deviations in the denominator) range from standard deviations for the TNS morphemes, 1.6 for articles. For the TNS morphemes, the estimated percentage of the nonoverlapping area covered by both populations combined is 87%-95%; for the articles, the area covered is 73%. In comparison, for plurals, the d value drops to 1.00, for a nonoverlap of 55% (i.e., there is 45% overlap and this is bunched at the high end of performance). The children in the language-equivalent comparison group, the 3N children, are somewhere in the middle, showing greater variation (a wider box) as they begin to show greater levels of competency in their morpheme use. The picture is different for the control morphemes unrelated to TNS. For all three groups of children, the boxes are at ceiling levels for -s plurals, -ing progressive, and in/on. What these findings show is that grammatical affixation is not a generalized grammatical deficit for children with SLI at this age level, nor are the omissions limited to morphemes of similar surface configuration. For some grammatical morphemes, SLI children show near-adultlike levels of performance, greatly similar to that of their age peers. Among FIGURE 12. Distribution of children's performance on BE within groups (spontaneous). these morphemes, the same surface form, -s, is at high levels for marking plurals and low levels for marking TNS. Finally, for the articles, a/the, the children in the SLI group show a pattern of performance similar to that evident for the TNS-marking morphemes. The box for this group is lower than for the 5N or the 3N group, although the edges overlap with the 3N group to a greater extent than for the TNS morphemes. The group means and standard deviations indicate that the children with SLI are closer to their comparison groups on accuracy for this morpheme than for morphemes in the TNS-marking set. Discussion In this study, three kinds of evidence support the conclusion that a set of morphemes that mark TNS can be considered a clinical marker of SLI in preschool children: (a) Mean levels of accuracy for each morpheme in the TNSmarking set, irrespective of measurement method (i.e., spontaneous or probe items), reliably differentiate children in the SLI group from children in the younger languageequivalent 3N group, as well as from their age peers; (b) Affectedness is evident in a set of morphemes defined by the linguistic function of TNS, but not evident in morphemes that do not mark TNS; (c) This set of morphemes is mastered (above 90% in obligatory contexts) by almost all of the normative comparison group by age 5 years, in the year prior to school entry, but the great majority of children in the SLI sample performed well below 50%. In these samples, 5-year-old children who perform below 50% on more than one of the TNS-marking morphemes are almost certainly in the SLI group. All in all, these findings provide the strongest FIGURE 11. Distribution of children's performance on -ed within groups (probe). FIGURE 13. Distribution of children's performance on BE within groups (probe).
13 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1251 FIGURE 14. Distribution of children's performance on DO within groups (probe). evidence to date for a clinical marker of the condition of SLI in preschool children. Such a marker has implications for how we characterize the nature of the grammatical limitations of children with SLI and for means of identification. Each of these topics is discussed below, following a brief section acknowledging corroborating evidence reported in other investigations. Corroborating Evidence Parts of the findings reported here are also to be found in other investigations, in addition to Rice et al. (1995). In studies of similar design, similar findings with SLI children of comparable ages are reported for the lexical affixes of -s and -ed (e.g., Leonard, 1989; Leonard, Bortolini, Caselli, McGregor, & Sabbadini, 1992; Rice & Oetting, 1993). Furthermore, there is evidence that the difficulty with past tense marking can extend into the school years and beyond (Bishop, 1994; King, Schelletter, Sinka, Fletcher, & Ingham, 1995; Marchman & Weismer, 1994; Oetting, Horohov, & Costanza, 1995; Tomblin, 1994; Ullman & Gopnik, 1994). With regard to acquisition of BE, an early round of papers noted that this morpheme was likely to be acquired late by children with SLI (Ingram, 1972; Johnston & Schery, 1976; Khan & James, 1983). More recent evidence confirms this earlier conclusion (Cleave, 1995; Hadley & Rice, 1995). Thus, in conjunction with Rice et al. (1995), the present findings indicate that -s and -ed are not likely to be isolated surface phenomena. Instead, these morphemes serve to mark TNS, as do BE and DO, and this TNS-marking function constitutes FIGURE 16. Distribution of children's performance on -ing within groups (spontaneous). a clinical marker. The findings suggest need for further information about how this clinical marker manifests itself as preschool children mature and as other properties of the adult grammar become more apparent (e.g., the formulation of questions and complex sentence structures). Accounts of Children with SLI In interesting ways, the existence of TNS as a clinical marker falls outside the range of current alternative accounts of children with SLI. Predictions that bear on the findings reported here are examined in the following discussion. Language delay. In many ways, children with SLI seem to follow the grammar of younger nonaffected children; they seem to be a delayed version of the nonaffected children. Typically, their first words and word combinations appear at ages later than expected, and their mean length of utterance is low for their age, for an extended period of time. Elsewhere we have referred to a class of interpretations as Extended Development Theories of SLI (Rice & Wexler, 1996). The EOI can be considered within this framework, but with some important distinctions. Other investigators have emphasized that nonaffected children show great variation in the appearance and mastery of grammatical markers and have concluded that SLI children are within the broad range of expectations for their mean length of utterance (Curtiss et al., 1992; Lahey, 1994; Lahey et al., 1992). Another interpretation is that, at any given point in development, the child with SLI may be far behind control children in the expression of one morpheme and less far behind on another morpheme, deviating from the normative profile (Leonard, 1991). FIGURE 15. Distribution of children's performance on plus -s within groups (spontaneous). FIGURE 17. Distribution of children's performance on in + on within groups (spontaneous).
14 1252 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research We take up here three clarifications of the language delay interpretation. The first is with regard to MLU-referenced developmental expectations. The view that children with SLI are within the range of expected variation for their mean length of utterance would predict no difference in morphological competencies for these groups. The findings reported here show strong counter-evidence to this prediction. Replicable differences are apparent between the SLI and 3N groups and there is a consistent pattern that applies to each of the morphemes in the TNS-marking set. This constitutes the strongest evidence to date that the obligatoriness of certain morphemes lags behind MLU expectations in children with receptive and expressive language impairments. In this way, the findings are consistent with Leonard's (1991) notion of a deviation from the normative profile. These differences in TNS-marking cannot be attributed to a simple "delay" interpretable within MLU referencing. To the extent that MLU is a measure of general linguistic ability, then SLI children are more limited in their production of TNS than would be expected for their general linguistic ability. Such differences have eluded documentation previously because of the morphological measurements employed. The 01 theory focused attention a priori on a set of morphemes, and measures were devised that probed this set in considerable detail. Other studies have used only a few test items or have collapsed all morphemes into a composite measure (cf. Curtiss et al., 1992). Neither of these measurement strategies would detect group differences on TNSmarking. A further measurement refinement employed here was the consistency of measures and scoring criteria across all the groups, thereby reducing error attributable to variations in measurement across studies, a possible limitation in the comparison of Lahey et al. (1992). An additional issue to consider is the MLU-equivalency criterion for the 3N control group. There is an extensive literature in which this criterion has been challenged or critiqued on a variety of grounds. Curtiss et al. (1992) stated, "the matching of children on the basis of MLU may be inadequate as a means for assessing deviance in acquisition" (p. 380). Plante, Swisher, Kiernan, and Restrepo (1993) wondered whether language matches are illuminating or confounding. We conclude that, not only are the findings reported here illuminating, but the comparison is essential for evaluating the possibility of a general delay in grammatical acquisition, across the board. As is evident in Table 1, MLU was highly reliable across samples of participants, and the findings suggest that MLU is a valid way of grouping children in order to identify meaningful differences in morphological acquisition. The second clarification for the interpretation of language delay is that an EOI account accurately predicts that an important way in which the profile of SLI children differs from MLU-equivalent children is in higher-than-expected optional use of infinitival forms where finiteness is required. This is important because a single and highly significant grammatical function is identified as a primary source of extended development that is evident across different surface morphemes. In fact, it is not clear if this part of the grammar is fully operational for older affected individuals December 1996 The third clarification is that SLI children are not delayed with respect to a large set of grammatical features, morphemes, and processes. This can be seen in the performance on the comparison morphemes that do not mark TNS. Of course, a simple delay model would yield the same prediction. If one were to draw a line across the earlyappearing morphemes studied by Brown (1973), one would catch the plural -s, verbal -ing, and in/on studied here. Important theories such as the Surface Account have predicted that plural -s would pattern with the affected morphemes, so the obviousness of the prediction of no delay is not at all apparent a priori. The Ol/EOI account offers the prediction that the control morphemes, because they are outside the TNS cluster, should not necessarily be affected. A further, and very important, contribution of the OI/EOI perspective is the prediction that, even when SLI children are at relatively low levels of obligatory use of finiteness markers, they nevertheless know a great deal about the representation of morphosyntax in clausal structure. In particular, children with SLI know about agreement features and about grammatical contexts in which TNS must appear for certain grammatical processes to take place (e.g., Auxiliary Inversion in questions). In our view, this suggests that children with SLI do not suffer from some general grammatical learning deficit. This is tempered somewhat by the fact that the evidence reported here documents one slice of development. It is possible that the children with SLI could have had an extended early acquisition of plurals relative to MLU controls that was resolved by the developmental level studied here. Rice and Oetting (1993) examined this possibility by comparing the MLUs of children in the SLI and language control groups whose plural accuracy was below 75%. There was no difference in the MLU values of the two groups. This suggests that, at learning stages below 75%, the children with SLI were not at lower MLU levels than the controls. Of course, definitive empirical evidence from young SLI children at the initial stages of morphological use is still required. All told, our conclusion is that the EOI is a highly enriched version of an Extended Development View of SLI. Although many of the associated empirical facts are highly consistent with the traditional developmental facts (as we would expect), the predictions are independently drawn from models of the adult grammar, new empirical evidence is brought to bear, grammatical functions are identified that are implicated in a clinical marker of SLI, and adultlike grammatical knowledge is confirmed. Processing accounts. Traditionally, explanations of the omitted elements of the morphology of children with SLI have focused on processing demands. One possibility is some form of input processing limitation. Perhaps children with SLI do not perceive the phonetic information in the same way as unaffected children (cf. Tallal, 1984). Another possibility is that the locus of the problem is in processing surface grammatical forms that have relatively short durations of morphemic material that limits the formation of morphological paradigms (cf. Leonard, 1989, 1996). Within input processing accounts, the focus is on the surface properties of the affected morphemes, in the pho-
15 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1253 netic forms or prosodic contours, or a combination of both. We will concentrate on the account of Leonard (1989) and his colleagues (Leonard et al., 1992) because they have worked out precise predictions for affected morphemes. They predict that the surface form, -s, should differentiate SLI children from younger language controls when it appears as the regular plural affix of English and when it appears as the third person singular present tense, -s. What is clear from the findings reported here is that the same surface morpheme, -s, shows a different pattern depending upon the linguistic function: -s plurals are unaffected morphemes whereas -s as TNS-marking is affected. The TNSmarking set offers an interesting comparison, in that in this case a set of morphemes with diverse surface properties nevertheless shows affectedness. Different phonetic representations are involved for -s, -ed, BE, and DO. Prosodically, uses of DO or BE are much different from, say, the affixation of -ed to mark past tense or -s to mark third singular present tense. For example, the former always add syllables, whereas the latter often do not." If surface processing is the culprit, why would different surface forms be affected? In what way does TNS-marking pose special processing demands? In short, input processing accounts face two empirical challenges from the available evidence: surface forms that should be difficult for English-speaking children with SLI do not show affectedness, and, conversely, a set of forms shares affectedness even though the individual morphemes vary widely in surface properties. A serious further challenge to an "input" processing account is the finding that, as also reported by Rice et al. (1995), when finiteness-marked forms and other morphemes are used, the surface form of the morpheme is almost always correctly applied to the stem (in the case of an affix) or the correct form is chosen (in the case of suppletive forms such as for the BE paradigm) in the contexts where it is allowed by the adult grammar, and the choice of form corresponds to that required by the person and number marking on the subject. SLI children are unlikely to say "*they runs" or "*they am happy" or "*I is happy" or "*he is not want the cookie." This phenomenon shows that the children are able to enter the correct surface forms into their mental representations and to fit them into a paradigm of person and number distinctions. Consider a surface processing view of the findings. On this line of explanation, SLI children cannot form paradigm representations because of input filtering of some sort and they therefore omit surface forms. This catches the omission data nicely. It gets trickier, 'More recently, Leonard has refined the earlier Surface Account to a low phonetic substance interpretation (cf. Leonard, 1996), in which the prediction is that omitted morphemes are likely to be those morphemes that are short in duration relative to surrounding units. That account also leaves observed phenomena unexplained. For example, in the sentence, "He is going to the store," children in our SLI sample will be likely to omit the "is" and produce the "-ing." What is the difference in phonetic substance that would account for this pattem? Furthermore, in findings reported by Cleave and Rice (in press), children are more likely to produce the "is" in contractible contexts such as "he's going to the store" than in uncontractible contexts such as "what is it"? Finally, a sentence initial form can be omitted in contexts such as "Does he want a cookie"? where the "does" tends to be dropped by children with SLI. In none of these contexts is it obvious how the short-in-duration-relative-tosurrounding-contexts account would predict the observed outcomes. however, to account for the fact that the children are typically quite accurate when they do insert a surface morpheme. Somehow, their incompletely established paradigms can yield correct form choice, which would grant incompletely established paradigms a surprising robustness. It is very difficult to see what kind of incomplete input/paradigms model would predict almost perfect choice of forms (e.g., agreement). It is most parsimonious, we believe, to conclude that the SLI children have available (i.e., have in their grammatical representations) the surface properties of the forms and that these forms are assigned to person/number distinctions at the time the children continue to optionally insert the forms into their utterances. These arguments parallel arguments concerning correct choice of forms and knowledge of grammatical contexts for a large set of morphemes across many languages for normally developing children (Wexler, 1994, and many references there). Not only is it more parsimonious to assume that the SLI children have built a complete paradigm, but it goes along with the strong weight of empirical evidence for typically developing children. Overall, the thrust of the EOI theory is very different from the thrust of input or processing accounts. We are impressed by the strong grammatical telltale phenomena. The details of linguistic behavior are essential to and telling for our account. We pay strong attention to both linguistic deficits (as in the underspecification of TNS) and to linguistic strengths (as in the accurate specification of AGR) in SLI children. The synchronies and asynchronies of detailed linguistic features are at the heart of our account. In our opinion, any theory that misses these phenomena has missed the heart of SLI. Other grammatical accounts. Other investigators share the conclusion that the grammatical limitations of individuals with SLI will be illuminated by consideration of grammatical properties. Clahsen (1991; Clahsen, Marcus, & Bartke, 1993) has posited that German-speaking children with SLI are limited in their ability to form agreement relations, to check the person and number features for the subject on the form of the verb. A close inspection of the German SLI data in Rothweiler and Clahsen (1993), however, shows that the children perform with high accuracy with respect to subjectverb agreement. In particular, if the verb has an agreement morpheme (e.g., third singular t), then the subject is highly likely to agree with it. Of the 71 samples (from 19 children) in Table 3 of that paper, 70 reported occurrences of t. Of these 70 samples, 65 show a percentage correct of 80% or better, and, furthermore, 59 of the 70 samples show a percentage correct of 90% or better. Contrary to the claim that the German SLI children are missing agreement, we suggest that the data show that the children are highly accurate on agreement. As we have already pointed out, a pervasive agreement deficit is not evident in our data from Englishspeaking children, in that they do show use of the -s third person singular form only on third person singular subjects and they show suppletive forms of BE and DO that are correct for the person and number of the subject. Thus, there seems to be a strong similarity in German and Englishspeaking SLI children in high accuracy of subject-verb agreement marking.
16 1254 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research Gopnik and her colleagues (Matthews, 1994) have put forth a case for a limited grammatical rule-leaming capacity, in which surface forms that do appear are the result of rote lexically based learning. This account is intended to capture apparently correct use of irregular forms of grammatical morphemes, such as irregular forms of past tense, as have been reported in the Gopnik et al. (Matthews, 1994) studies of individuals in a family who are affected with SLI. The account would seem to predict, however, that SLI children would show a deficit in subject-verb agreement, because this is clearly established by grammatical rule. The form of a verb must match its subject; it cannot be simply listed in the lexicon to be inserted in any sentence, independent of the features of the subject. As we have shown in this paper, SLI children are highly accurate on subject-verb agreement. Moreover, it is not clear how the "rule-deficit" account would account for the omitted forms of BE and DO, which are conceivably learnable as lexical items, nor how it would account for the apparently robust acquisition of regular -s plural affixes, which as regular forms should be vulnerable. Furthermore, in many ways the morphosyntax of children with SLI is constrained by properties and principles of the grammar, whose operation is evident in the meager numbers of overt errors of placement or form. There are two faces to the limitations of the limited rule-leaming account of SLI when applied to the evidence reported here. One is that lexical learning would seem to be a way to bootstrap some grammatical forms that are problematic (i.e., BE and DO), but this doesn't happen. The other is that an inability to follow grammatical rules is an overly powerful deficit, predicting problems with regular affixation that does not occur. Simply put, for the children with SLI studied here, their "rule deficit" is not that strong and their "lexical learning" is not that powerful (recall further that the SLI children in the samples reported here also had low scores on receptive vocabulary, so their lexical learning strategies in general are not too strong, a fact confirmed in a series of studies by Rice and her colleagues: Rice, Buhr, & Nemeth, 1990; Rice, Buhr, & Getting, 1992; Rice, Oetting, Marquis, Bode, & Pae, 1994). We should point out that Gopnik's claim that the family she studies shows better tense-marking for irregulars than for regulars has been challenged by Vargha-Khadem, Watkins, Alcock, Fletcher, and Passingham (1995), on the basis of an experiment with the same family. Furthermore, Ullman and Gopnik (1994) report data that show, at very best, mixed support for the claim that irregulars are marked more than regulars for past tense in this family, and they conclude that "our initial hypothesis of a selective rule deficit is incorrect" (p. 96). We should also point out that Vargha- Khadem et al. report cognitive and articulatory deficits that make the diagnosis of SLI in this family problematic. It is difficult to come to any conclusions about SLI from the linguistic results of this family. It seems safe to conclude that SLI children are not missing the rule-making capacity. Identification of Children with SLI TNS as a clinical marker has some obvious implications for identification of children with SLI. The idea that children can be identified by finding grammatical variation where none is expected brings new light to traditional clinical issues such as the validity of identification criteria. As noted by Tomblin (1991), Aram, Morris, and Hall (1992), and many others, definitions of SLI and diagnostic standards are poorly developed. In conventional psychometric assessment, children are usually identified by establishing an arbitrary cutoff value for "normal," often around one or two standard deviations below the mean value expected for an individual's age. What is not clear is where to set the line for the cutoff value and the external criteria to use for validation of the cutoff. Is it meaningful to declare that all children at the bottom 10% of the distribution on a language test are "language impaired"? Perhaps so, but criteria with more obvious face validity would be preferable. Consider again the evidence presented in Figures It is obvious that children with SLI who do not show obligatory TNS-marking are significantly different from their age peers. Their age peers show an adultlike grammar and they do not; teachers and adults, even if they do not detect the specifics of the TNS-marking limitation, are likely to note that the child with an EOI grammar sounds rather "immature." On the face of it, TNS-marking is an area of the grammar that is expected to be fully mastered by school age. Children who do not demonstrate this knowledge are in some obvious way "language impaired." This yields a definition of "impairment" with greater conceptual validity than that of low test performance alone. Concluding Comments December 996 This study points toward TNS-marking, as defined here, as a plausible clinical marker for children in the age range studied and probably for children somewhat older as well. The findings are consistent with a model of linguistic representations in which the grammatical scaffolding is intact but certain areas of grammatical specification are vulnerable. The surface morphemes affected do not yield to an analysis of low surface salience, which points away from an "input" processing account of grammatical limitations and toward a representational deficit. Although these are the most promising findings for a clinical marker to date, much remains to be explored. One issue important for identification is how TNS-marking is or is not measured in traditional psychometric assessments, where typically only a few items of this sort are included in the subtests purported to measure grammatical ability. Note that if TNS is a clinical marker for SLI, but all grammatical morphemes do not function that way, tests in which both kinds of morphemes are mixed together (as is commonly done) will be unlikely to differentiate affected from nonaffected children. What will be needed are highly focused assessments of TNS-marking, as in the studies reported here. An important clinical issue is that there may be subgroups of children with SLI who may not demonstrate this clinical marker. Two factors are involved. One is that some children may know about TNS-marking. This may include children with expressive problems only, pragmatic deficits, or wordfinding problems. The other factor is that TNS-marking may be difficult to measure in the surface structures. This would
17 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1255 be the case for children with severe phonological limitations. Thus, although the findings reported for the SLI children who participated in this study are highly encouraging, the pervasiveness of the TNS clinical marker in the full population of speech/language impaired children is unknown. New evidence suggests that an EOI stage may not be evident in all clinical cases of language delay. In a study underway (Rice & Mervis, 1996), children with Williams Syndrome matched for MLU with the SLI children studied here do not show an EOI stage. This is a very interesting finding because it shows that TNS-marking can be robust at low levels of MLU in individuals with very limited intellectual capacity. At the very least, such findings establish that an EOI stage is not to be expected in all cases of language delay. Among the measurement challenges foreseen is the need to take into account dialectal variations. Minority dialects may not show the same patterns of obligatory marking of TNS and this must be considered. Another issue is how to measure TNS-marking in narrative or discourse settings, where the obligatory contexts become less clear because of reference-shifting devices that allow speakers to use present tense when they refer to past time, and other such complexities that become apparent with speakers older than 5 years of age. In the evidence reported here, the children's utterances are mostly simple declarative sentences where temporal reference can be inferred, or, in the case of the probes, established by the elicitation procedures. The picture will undoubtedly become more complicated with more advanced speakers. Finally, it is important to note that TNS-marking is probably not the only clinical marker to be found in the grammar of children with SLI, as is strongly suggested by the evidence about the use of a/the presented above. For the moment, TNS-marking is where theoretical frameworks and empirical methods converge to yield grammatical measures that can reliably detect affectedness in young children with receptive and expressive language impairments. In effect, TNS-marking is where the scientific light can shine. The conclusion here is that further explication is likely to be fruitful. Acknowledgments This study was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders Award R01 DC01803 to Mabel L. Rice and Kenneth Wexler. We express special appreciation to Mary Howe for her assistance with data management and data analyses, and to Pat Cleave, Karla J. Rice, Laura Smith, Carol Schekall, and Collette Thomas for subject recruitment and data collection, and to Esther Lerner for assistance with data analyses. Our special appreciation is expressed to the children who participated in this study, their parents who provided permission, and the following day care centers and preschools that supported this research. In Baldwin, KS: Rainbow Experience Preschool; Hutchinson, KS: Early Education Center; Lawrence, KS: Children's Learning Center, Community Child Care Services, Head Start, Hilltop Child Development Center, Kindercare, Language Acquisition Preschool, Stepping Stones, United Child Development Center; Lee's Summit, MO: Early Childhood Center; Olathe, KS: Developmental Learning Center, Dinosaur Den Preschool, Guardian Angel Daycare; Ottawa, KS: Franklin County Daycare, Hawthome School; Overland Park, KS: Prairie Star-Blue Valley; Shawnee Mission, KS public school system; Wellsville, KS: Wellsville Elementary Preschool. Earlier partial reports of the evidence and arguments presented in this paper appeared in papers/posters presented at the 19th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (1994), the national convention of the Society for Research in Child Development (March 1995), the Symposium for Research on Children with Learning Disabilities (Madison, June 1995), the Workshop on Specific Language Impairment sponsored by the Linguistics Summer Institute (July 1995), and in speeches presented at the University of London and the University of Essex (June 1995). References Aram, D. M., Morris, R., & Hall, N. E. (1992). The validity of discrepancy criteria for identifying children with developmental language disorders. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 25, Beastrom, S. L. (1986). Comprehension and production of the articles A and The in language impaired children. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Bishop, D. V. M. (1994). 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18 1256 Journal of Speech and Hearing Research Grimm, H., & Weinert, S. (1990). Is the syntax development of dysphasic children deviant and why? New findings to an old question. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 33, Hadley, P. A., & Rice, M. L. (1995, June). The use of finiteness markers among children with SLI: A longitudinal perspective. Poster presented at the Symposium for Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI. Haegeman, L. (1995). Root infinitives, tense, and truncated structures in Dutch. Language Acquisition, 4, Harris, T., & Wexler, K. (1996). The optional infinitive stage in child English: Evidence from negation. In H. Clahsen (Ed.), Generative perspectives on language acquisition (pp. 1-42). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Howe, M. L. (1992). Transcription and coding manual for analysis of language samples: Kansas language transcript database. Unpublished manual, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Hyams, N. (1996). 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Journal of Childhood Communication Disorders, 6, King, G., Schelletter, C., Sinka, I., Fletcher, P., & Ingham, R. (1995). Are English-speaking SLI children with morpho-syntactic deficits impaired in their use of locative-contact and causative alternating verbs? University of Reading Working Papers in Linguistics, 2, Lahey, M. (1994). Grammatical morpheme acquisition: Do norms exist? [Letter]. Joumal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37, Lahey, M., Liebergott, J., Chesnick, M., Menyuk, P., & Adams, J. (1992). Variability in children's use of grammatical morphemes. Applied Psycholinguistics, 13, Leadholm, B., & Miller, J. (1993). Language sample analysis: The Wisconsin guide. Milwaukee, WI: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Lebeaux, D. (1990). The grammatical nature of the acquisition sequence: Adjoin-a and the formation of relative clauses. In L. Frazier & J. de Villiers (Eds.), Language processing and language acquisition (pp ). Dordrecht: Kluwer. Leonard, L. B. (1987). Is specific language impairment a useful construct? In S. Rosenberg (Ed.), Advances in applied psycholinguistics Vol. 1: Disorders of first language development (pp. 1-39). New York: Cambridge University Press. Leonard, L. B. (1989). Language learnability and specific language impairment in children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 10, Leonard, L. B. (1991). Specific language impairment as a clinical category. Journal of Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 22, Leonard, L. B. (1996). Characterizing specific language impairment: A crosslinguistic perspective. In M. L. Rice (Ed.), Toward a genetics of language (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Leonard, L. B., Bortolini, U., Caselli, M. C., McGregor, K. K., & Sabbadini, L. (1992). Morphological deficits in children with specific language impairment: The status of features in the underlying grammar. Language Acquisition, 2, Maratsos, M. (1976). The use of definite and indefinite reference in children. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Marchman, V. A., & Weismer, S. E. (1994, June). Patterns of productivity in children with SLI and NL: A study of the English December 996 past tense. Poster presented at the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Matthews, J. (Ed.) (1994). Linguistic aspects of familial language impairment. Special Issue of the McGill Working Papers in Linguistics. Montreal, Canada: McGill University. Miller, J., & Chapman, R. (1991). Systematic analysis of language transcripts. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Language Analysis Lab. Newcomer, P. L., & Hammill, D. D. (1988). Test of Language Development 2-Primary. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. Noll, K. (1995). Verb finiteness and placement in German language acquisition. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Norusis, M. J. (1993). SPSS for Windows: Base system user's guide (6.0). Chicago: SPSS, INC. Getting, J., Horohov, J. E., & Costanza, A. L. (1995, June). Influences of stem and root characteristics on past tense marking: Evaluation of children with SLI. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI. Oetting, J. B., & Rice, M. L. (1993). Plural acquisition in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, Phillips, C. (1995). Syntax at age two: Cross-linguistic differences. In MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, Papers on Language Processing and Acquisition, 26, Pierce, A. E. (1992). Language acquisition and syntactic theory: A comparative analysis of French and English child grammars. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Plante, E., Swisher, L., Kieman, G., & Restrepo, M. A. (1993). Language matches: Illuminating or confounding? Joumal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, Poeppel, D., & Wexler, K. (1993). The full competence hypothesis of clause structure in early German. Language, 69, Pollock, J. (1989). Verb movement, universal grammar, and the structure of IP. Linguistic Inquiry, 20, Radford, A. (1990). Syntactic theory and the acquisition of English syntax. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Radford, A. (1995). Children--architects or brickies? In D. Mac- Laughlin & S. McEwen (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 1-19). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla. Rice, M. L. (Ed.). (1996). Toward a genetics of language. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Rice, M. L., Buhr, J. C., & Nemeth, M. J. (1990). Fast mapping word learning abilities of language delayed preschoolers. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 55, Rice, M. L., Buhr, J., & Oetting, J. B. (1992). Specific-language impaired children's quick incidental learning of words: The effect of a pause. Joumal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, Rice, M. L., & Mervis, C. B. (1996). Morphosyntactic limitations of children with Williams Syndrome as compared to children with SLI. Manuscript in preparation. Rice, M. L., & Oetting, J. B. (1993). Morphological deficits of children with SLI: Evaluation of number marking and agreement. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, Rice, M. L., Oetting, J. B., Marquis, J., Bode, J., & Pae, S. (1994). Frequency of input effects on word comprehension of children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37, Rice, M. L., & Wexler, K. (1996). A phenotype of specific language impairment: Extended optional infinitives. In M. L. Rice (Ed.), Toward a genetics of language (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Rice, M. L., Wexler, K., & Cleave, P. (1995). Specific language impairment as a period of Extended Optional Infinitive. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, Rizzi, L. (1994). Some notes on linguistic theory and language development: The case of root infinitives. Language Acquisition, 3, Rothweiler, M., & Clahsen, H. (1993). Dissociations in SLI children's inflectional systems: A study of participle inflection and
19 Rice & Wexler: Tense as a Clinical Marker of SLI 1257 subject-verb-agreement. Essex Research Reports in Linguistics, 2, Schutze, C. T., & Wexler, K. (1996). Subject case licensing and English root infinitives. In Proceedings of the 20th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (Vol. 2, pp ). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. Schutze, C. T., Wexler, K., & Rice, M. L. (1996). Case assignment and finiteness in children with specific language impairment. Mansucript in preparation. Tallal, P. (1984). Temporal or phonetic processing deficit in dyslexia? That is the question. Applied Psycholinguistics, 5, Tomblin, B. (1994, February). Family and twin studies of language impairment Inherited speech and language disorders: In search of a phenotype. Session conducted at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting (M. L. Rice, Chair), San Francisco, CA. Tomblin, J. B. (1991). Examining the cause of Specific Language Impairment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 22, Ullman, M., & Gopnik, M. (1994). The production of inflectional morphology in hereditary specific language impairment. McGill Working Papers, 10, Vargha-Khadem, F., Watkins, K., Alcock, K., Fletcher, P., & Passingham, R. (1995). Praxic and nonverbal cognitive deficits in a large family with a genetically transmitted speech and language disorder. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 92, Weverink, M. (1990). What's missing in Dutch? PRCLD, 29, Wexler, K. (1994). Optional infinitives. In D. Lightfoot & N. Hornstein (Eds.), Verb movement (pp ). New York: Cambridge University Press. Wexler, K. (1996). The development of inflection in a biologicallybased theory of language acquisition. In M. L. Rice (Ed.), Toward a genetics of language (pp ). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Whitman, J. (1994). In defense of the strong continuity account of the acquisition of verb-second. In B. Lust, M. Suner, & J. Whitman (Eds.), Syntactic theory and first language acquisition: Crosslinguistic perspectives (pp ). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Received September 5, 1995 Accepted May 22, 1996 Contact author: Mabel L. Rice, University of Kansas, Child Language Doctoral Program, 1082 Robert Dole Human Development Center, Lawrence, KS
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