Past tense morphology by Danish children with language impairment – University of Copenhagen

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Past tense morphology by Danish children with language impairment

Researcher: Rikke Vang Christensen


In April 2010, Rikke Vang Christensen defended her PhD thesis ‘Om fællestræk og variation. En undersøgelse af verbers præteritumbøjning hos danske børn med sprogforstyrrelser' [On common features and variation: An investigation of the past tense morphology by Danish children with language impairment].

  The thesis focuses on the challenges to Danish children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) constituted by the past tense inflection of verbs (forms such as cyklede of cykle, betalte of betale, and vandt of vinde). Children with SLI have considerable problems acquiring their first language even though signs of other deficiencies (e.g. low non-verbal intelligence scores, hearing impairment, or a diagnosis of autism) are not evident. 

  The use of past tense morphology was assessed in different types of tasks and the results of the study show that the children with SLI had marked difficulties with past tense in all tasks relative to control children with no language impairment. Particularly, no child with SLI reached the same level of correctness of past tense use as the control children in a sentence repetition task.

The results are discussed in relation to current SLI accounts in the thesis.

Link to an English abstract of the thesis