Acquisition of definite article + noun agreement in Spanish-English bilingual children with specific language impairment
The objective of this study was to assess the ability of young, bilingual Spanish-English-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) to detect and produce grammatically valid "definite article + noun" forms in Spanish. We focused on this particular form because the Spanish language requires agreement between definite articles and their accompanying noun forms. In English, there is no translation equivalent for this obligatory agreement. We were interested in whether children with SLI in a bilingual environment would acquire this form in a predictable, developmental manner. Results of the study indicated that, despite their language handicap, our participants performed in a rather expected manner. That is, as a group, they were more likely to offer an accurate response when the response followed an implicit morphemic rule. Therefore, our study supports the notion that children with language delays make use of Slobin's (1973) Operating Principles, which predict that, in an attempt to understand language, children will pay attention to the occurrence of particular speech segments in the language.
Communication Disorders Quarterly
Eng, N. and O'Connor, Barbara, "Acquisition of definite article + noun agreement in Spanish-English bilingual children with specific language impairment" (2000). Department of Speech Language Pathology Faculty Articles. 1.