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Communication Accommodation Theory

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Academic Paper


Title: The Effects of Language Impairment on the Use of Direct Object Pronouns and Verb Inflections in Heritage Spanish Speakers: A Look at Attrition, Incomplete Acquisition and Maintenance
Author: Peggy F. Jacobson
Institution: St John's University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Morphology
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: This study examined object clitic pronouns (OCPs) and verb inflections in twenty-five school-age children with typical development (TD) and twenty children with bilingual language impairment (BLI). MANOVA and ANOVA were used to explore differences according to grade level and language status (TD vs. BLI). Although children with BLI produced higher rates of grammatical errors overall, accuracy on number and gender assignment for OCPs was better for both groups in the higher grades. Although the rate of verb inflection errors did not differ for children with TD and BLI in the lower grades, a significant interaction yielded higher error rates on subject–verb agreement for third person singular and plural inflections in the later grades for children with BLI. Greater accuracy on OCP use in later grades weakens claims that bilingualism exacerbates language impairment. For BLI, whether incomplete acquisition or delayed development is the determining factor for verb inflection errors remains undetermined.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 1.

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