Syntactic Development in Adolescents With a History of Language Impairments: A Follow-Up Investigation Purpose Syntactic development in adolescents was examined using a spoken discourse task and standardized testing. The primary goal was to determine whether adolescents with a history of language impairments would differ from those with a history of typical language development (TLD). This is a companion study to one that examined ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2009
Syntactic Development in Adolescents With a History of Language Impairments: A Follow-Up Investigation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marilyn A. Nippold
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Tracy C. Mansfield
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Jesse L. Billow
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • J. Bruce Tomblin
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Contact author: Marilyn A. Nippold, Communication Disorders and Sciences, College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. E-mail: nippold@uoregon.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2009
Syntactic Development in Adolescents With a History of Language Impairments: A Follow-Up Investigation
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2009, Vol. 18, 241-251. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/08-0022)
History: Received March 20, 2008 , Revised June 27, 2008 , Accepted December 2, 2008
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2009, Vol. 18, 241-251. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/08-0022)
History: Received March 20, 2008; Revised June 27, 2008; Accepted December 2, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 25

Purpose Syntactic development in adolescents was examined using a spoken discourse task and standardized testing. The primary goal was to determine whether adolescents with a history of language impairments would differ from those with a history of typical language development (TLD). This is a companion study to one that examined these same adolescents 2 years earlier (M. A. Nippold, T. C. Mansfield, J. L. Billow, & J. B. Tomblin, 2008).

Method The participants were 15-year-old adolescents with a history of specific language impairment (SLI; n = 102), nonspecific language impairment (NLI; n = 77), or TLD (n = 247). A sample of spoken discourse was elicited using a Peer Conflict Resolution (PCR) task and analyzed for mean length of T-unit, clausal density, and subordinate clause use. In addition, 2 subtests from the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, Third Edition (E. Semel, E. H. Wiig, & W. A. Secord, 1995), Concepts and Directions and Recalling Sentences, were administered.

Results On the PCR task, the TLD group outperformed the SLI and NLI groups on mean length of T-unit, clausal density, and nominal clause use, and the TLD group outperformed the NLI group on relative clause use. On the standardized testing, the TLD group outperformed the SLI and NLI groups, and the SLI group outperformed the NLI group. Correlation coefficients calculated between the nonstandardized and standardized measures of syntax were statistically significant and positive.

Conclusions Speech-language pathologists may wish to employ the PCR task to examine syntactic development in adolescents as a supplement to standardized testing.

Acknowledgments
Grant 2P50DC02746-06A1 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders supported this project. The authors express sincere appreciation to the granting agency, the adolescents who participated in this project, their parents and guardians who granted permission, and to the following individuals who assisted with participant recruitment, data collection, and data management: Marlea O’Brien, Xuyang Zhang, Paula Buckwalter, and Connie Ferguson. Portions of this study were presented at the Afasic 4th International Symposium in Warwick, United Kingdom, in April 2007, and at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Boston in November 2007.
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