A comparative analysis of the production of aspect markers by Mandarin-speaking children with developmental language disorders and by their typically developing peers
Previous studies found that Mandarin-speaking children with developmental language disorder (children with DLD) have difficulty in producing aspect markers and their production of aspect markers was influenced by verbs’ situation types. However, these studies did not include in their experimental paradigms all the four typical Mandarin aspect markers. Moreover, there have been controversies concerning the findings of these studies. Using a priming picture-description task, the present study investigated the performance of Mandarin-speaking preschool children with DLD in producing the four typical Mandarin aspect markers zai-, -le, -zhe, and -guo, as compared with typically developing age-matched children (TDA children). Seventeen 4 to 6-year-old children with DLD (mean age was 61.38 months old) and 17 TDA children (mean age was 62.31 months old) participated in the experimental task. The results demonstrate that children with DLD produced significantly fewer sentences wituggesth the three postverbal aspect markers -le, -zhe, and -guo, and produced significantly more sentences with bare verb forms and other types of responses (such as producing a single word or irrelevant sentences, saying ‘I don’t know’, or giving no response, etc.) than the TDA children did; however, they performed similarly to their TDA peers in producing sentences with the preverbal aspect marker zai-. Furthermore, children with DLD were more likely to be affected by verbs’ situation types than the TDA children were in producing Mandarin aspect markers. The difficulty of children with DLD in producing the postverbal aspect markers did not correlate with their general language abilities and intelligence, nor with their delay in aspectual development.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Journal of Child Language Acquisition and Development-JCLAD
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