ABSTRACT

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the sentence production ability, including obligatory arguments, of children with language delay and typically developing children. Methods: Children with language delay of language age 4 to 5 (n=10) and typically developing children with matched language age (n=10) participated in this study. They were asked to produce complete sentences including obligatory arguments when they were shown picture cards. The target sentences were divided into three conditions: 1, 2, 3 argument structures according to argument numbers. The 1, 2, 3 argument structures contained three types, respectively. Each type had five items and there was a total of 45 items. The #1 argument structure included [agent], [object], [experiencer]; #2 argument structure included [agent-object], [agent-locative], [agent-coexistencer]; while #3 argument structure included [agent-object-recipient], [agent-object-instrument], [agent-object-locative]. A two-way mixed ANOVA of group (2) × argument numbers (3) was performed. Results: The two-way mixed ANOVA revealed the statistically main effects of group and argument numbers. In addition, there was a significant interaction effect. In other words, children with language delay produced fewer complete sentences than typically developing children. The #3 argument structure was more difficult than 1, 2 argument structure to all children. There was no significant differences between the two groups in #1 and #2 argument numbers, while there was a significant difference between the two groups in #3 argument numbers. Conclusions: The results indicated that if children did not completely understand the semantic and syntactic characteristics of the proposed predicate, they would have difficulty in producing the sentences, including the obligatory arguments. The implications and restrictions of the study were discussed.

KEYWORD

Language delay, argument, argument structure

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