Article  |   October 2011
Grammatical Morphology in School-Age Children With and Without Language Impairment: A Discriminant Function Analysis
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Maura Jones Moyle
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Courtney Karasinski
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Susan Ellis Weismer
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Brenda K. Gorman
    Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
  • Correspondence to Maura Jones Moyle, who is now at Marquette University: maura.moyle@marquette.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Amy Weiss
    Associate Editor: Amy Weiss×
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment
Article   |   October 2011
Grammatical Morphology in School-Age Children With and Without Language Impairment: A Discriminant Function Analysis
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools October 2011, Vol.42, 550-560. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0029)
History: Accepted 09 Mar 2011 , Received 21 Apr 2010 , Revised 04 Oct 2010
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools October 2011, Vol.42, 550-560. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0029)
History: Accepted 09 Mar 2011 , Received 21 Apr 2010 , Revised 04 Oct 2010

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test Bedore and Leonard’s (1998)  proposal that a verb morpheme composite may hold promise as a clinical marker for specific language impairment (SLI) in English speakers and serve as an accurate basis for the classification of children with and without SLI beyond the preschool level.

Method: The language transcripts of 50 school-age children with SLI (Mage = 7;9 [years;months]) and 50 age-matched typically developing peers (Mage = 7;9) were analyzed. Following the Bedore and Leonard (1998)  procedure, 3 variables were measured: a finite verb morpheme composite, a noun morpheme composite, and mean length of utterance in morphemes (MLUm).

Results: Overall findings indicated that neither grammatical morpheme composite alone adequately discriminated the groups at this developmental level. However, combining the verb and noun grammatical morpheme composite measures with MLUm resulted in good discriminant accuracy in classifying subgroups of the youngest children with and without SLI in the school-age sample.

Conclusion: Verb morphology alone is not a useful clinical marker of SLI in school-age children. Potential explanations for these findings and ideas for future research are discussed.

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