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Academic Paper


Title: The production of passives by children with specific language impairment: Acquiring English or Cantonese
Author: Anita M. Y. Wong
Institution: University of Hong Kong
Laurence B. Leonard
Institution: Purdue University
Stephanie F. Stokes
Institution: University of Canterbury
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Chinese, Yue
Abstract: The production of passive sentences by children with specific language impairment (SLI) was studied in two languages, English and Cantonese. In both languages, the word order required for passive sentences differs from the word order used for active sentences. However, English and Cantonese passive sentences are quite different in other respects. We found that English-speaking children with SLI were less proficient than both same-age and younger typically developing peers in the use of passives, although difficulty could not be attributed to word order or a reliance on active sentences. Cantonese-speaking children with SLI proved less capable than same-age peers in their use of passive sentences but at least as proficient as younger peers. The implications of these cross-linguistic differences are discussed.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 27, Issue 2.

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