Assessing Plural Morphology in Children Acquiring /S/-Leniting Dialects of Spanish Purpose To examine the production of plural morphology in children acquiring a dialect of Spanish with syllable-final /s/ lenition with the goal of comparing how plural marker omissions in the speech of these children compare with plural marker omissions in children with language impairment acquiring other varieties of Spanish. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2014
Assessing Plural Morphology in Children Acquiring /S/-Leniting Dialects of Spanish
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Karen Miller
    Pennsylvania State University, State College
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Karen Miller: kxm80@psu.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Brian Goldstein
    Associate Editor: Brian Goldstein×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2014
Assessing Plural Morphology in Children Acquiring /S/-Leniting Dialects of Spanish
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2014, Vol. 45, 173-184. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0032
History: Received April 18, 2013 , Revised December 1, 2013 , Accepted February 20, 2014
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2014, Vol. 45, 173-184. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0032
History: Received April 18, 2013; Revised December 1, 2013; Accepted February 20, 2014

Purpose To examine the production of plural morphology in children acquiring a dialect of Spanish with syllable-final /s/ lenition with the goal of comparing how plural marker omissions in the speech of these children compare with plural marker omissions in children with language impairment acquiring other varieties of Spanish.

Method Three production tasks were administered to children. A repetition task was used to examine children's production of the plural marker in plural noun phrases, and 2 Berko-style tasks evaluated children's production of the plural marker in bare nouns. Behavior on these tasks was compared with plural marker comprehension for each individual child.

Results There was a correlation between children's comprehension of the plural marker and their production of the plural marker on plural noun phrases in the repetition task but not between comprehension and production of the plural marker on bare nouns in the Berko-style tasks.

Conclusions Assessments of plural morphology as a clinical marker of language impairment in Spanish-speaking children may be problematic, especially in children acquiring dialects of Spanish with /s/ lenition, such as those originating in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Central America. Instead, for children acquiring /s/-leniting dialects of Spanish, assessments of the plural marker in noun phrases produced within a sentence frame may be a better indicator of acquisition than traditional Berko-style tasks that elicit bare nouns.

Acknowledgments
I am grateful to Claudia Bahamonde, Edgardo Mansilla, and Rodrigo Cárdenas for their help collecting data. I also thank the parents, children, and faculty of the preschools in Punta Arenas, Chile. Finally, I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the National Science Foundation (Grants BCS-1061805, 0746089, 0446769).
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