How do children ascribe gender to nouns? A study of Spanish-speaking children with and without specific language impairment
Source: Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, Volume 23, Number 7, July 2009 , pp. 489-506(18)
Publisher: Informa Healthcare
Abstract:The purpose of this investigation was to identify how Spanish-speaking preschool children with and without specific language impairment (SLI) use the various cues available for ascribing a noun's inherent gender in the language. Via an invented word task, four types of cues were isolated and presented to each child: (1) two types of noun-internal cues (semantic transparency and word ending), and (2) two types of noun-external cues (article gender and adjective gender). Eleven children with typical language skills, 11 children with SLI, and 11 adults participated in the study. Results indicated, as expected, that adults outperformed both child groups. Significant differences were observed in the children's use of article cues, with the typical children outperforming the children with SLI. Individual data also indicate that most children with SLI were using the noun-internal cue of word ending effectively. Discussion of previous research in the area of gender agreement in Spanish-speaking children with SLI and explanations of potential reasons for the children's performance are addressed.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2009-07-01