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Argument structure and children with specific language impairment

Jan de Jong from the University of Bergen and the University of Amsterdam will present his research on children with specific language impairment (SLI). 

The topic of the presentation is problems with verbs' argument structure among children with specific language impairment (SLI). The talk will be given in English, and is open to everyone. An abstract is given below. 

Argument structure and SLI

An important part of my thesis on symptoms of SLI in Dutch (de Jong, 1999, see also de Jong & Fletcher, 2014) concerned the argument structure of lexical verbs. Children with SLI have well-known problems with grammatical morphology, but, it was found, also with verb argument structure.  In my lecture I will illustrate the nature of these problems, also using data from my earlier research (in collaboration with researchers from the University of Reading, UK). Research into argument structure, meanwhile, is still limited. I will review the current evidence and ask why there isn’t more.

The problems, however, have consequences elsewhere. Since the verb and its arguments are important ingredients of the sentence, problems with argument structure lead to incomplete (or less complex) sentences and a lack of versatility in the construction of sentences – causing a kind of ‘collateral damage’ (Rice, 1991). Recent research by Ebbels (2005; 2007) shows that it works both ways: training argument structure supports the communicative skills of children with SLI.

Tags: language acquisition, Semantics
Published May 12, 2017 10:37 AM - Last modified May 12, 2017 11:30 AM