ABSTRACT

In the present study, we investigated the syntactic awareness skills of children with specific language impairment (SLI) in elementary school using a word-ordering task. Thirty-six children in grades two and three participated in the study. Among the participants, 12 were SLI, 12 were typically developing children matched for chronological age to SLI and 12 were typically developing children matched for language age to SLI. All participants were tested using a word-ordering task containing a variety of sentence types totalling 54 items; 18 were simple sentences, 18 were compound sentences, and 18 were complex sentences. To test syntactic awareness skills for simple sentences, a two-way ANOVA of subject group (3) × number of words (3) was conducted. For compound sentences, a three-way ANOVA of subject group (3) × type of semantic relation (2) × number of words (3) was conducted. For complex sentences, a three-way ANOVA of subject group (3) × type of subordinate clause (3) × number of words (3) was conducted. The results were as follows. In simple sentences, significant main effects were found for group and number of words. Second, in compound sentences, significant main effects were found for group, semantic relation, and number of words. In addition to main effects, interaction effects between group × number of words and type of semantic relation × number of words were observed. Third, in complex sentences, significant main effects were found for group, semantic relation and number of words. The performance of SLI in the word-ordering task was interpreted in terms of their syntactic awareness skills.

KEYWORD

SLI, syntactic awareness, word-order

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