When Conversation Is Not Enough Assessing Infinitival Complements Through Elicitation Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus  |   May 01, 2005
When Conversation Is Not Enough
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sarita Eisenberg
    Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
  • Contact author: Sarita Eisenberg, 167 Montclair Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042. E-mail: eisenbergs@mail.montclair.edu
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus   |   May 01, 2005
When Conversation Is Not Enough
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2005, Vol. 14, 92-106. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2005/011)
History: Received October 30, 2003 , Revised March 31, 2004 , Accepted April 4, 2005
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2005, Vol. 14, 92-106. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2005/011)
History: Received October 30, 2003; Revised March 31, 2004; Accepted April 4, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Children with language impairment have been found to show limited usage of infinitival complements, one of the earliest complex sentence types to emerge and a significant form in school-age language. Children’s production of infinitival complements in conversation is not sufficient to tell us what they know about this form. This article describes a story completion procedure for eliciting infinitival complements. The procedure includes 2 situational contexts requiring different infinitive sentence forms and a variety of verbs with which infinitival complements can be produced. The child’s response includes both production of an utterance to complete each story and then an acting out of the meaning of that utterance. This enables the examiner to look not only at the forms produced by the child but also at the relationship between form and meaning.

Acknowledgments
This report started with a doctoral dissertation completed at the Graduate School of the City of New York under the advisement of Helen S. Cairns. My thanks go to Adrienn Vegh-Soti for her help in data collection and transcription, to Pamela Hadley and the reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this article, to the children who participated in the cited studies, and to their parents who consented to their participation.
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