British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 28 Issue 1 (March 2010), Pages 1-216

Production and comprehension of pronouns by Greek children with specific language impairment (pages 189-216)

This study contributes to the characterization of the deficit in specific language impairment (SLI) by investigating whether deficits in the production and comprehension of pronouns in Greek children with SLI are best accounted for by domain‐general or domain‐specific models of the language faculty. The Greek pronominal system distinguishes between acoustically salient and non‐salient forms, which are both interpreted on semantic/thematic grounds, and non‐salient forms (object clitics) interpreted on syntactic grounds either in spec‐head agreement or syntactic dependencies incurring feature checking through movement/chain formation. The results revealed a significant effect of the syntactic configuration on the production and comprehension of object clitics. Children with SLI were significantly impaired in the production and comprehension of those clitics that enter into operations necessitated by complex syntactic dependencies involving feature checking through movement/chain formation. Thus, the data support the computational grammatical complexity hypothesis and indicate that the deficits associated with object clitics in Greek‐speaking children with SLI result from domain‐specific impairment with syntactic dependencies incurring feature checking at the clause level involving movement/chain formation.

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