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J Speech Hear Disord. 1981 Aug;46(3):250-61.

Discourse devices used by language disordered children: a preliminary investigation.


Language-disordered children's use of two devices through which utterances are related to ongoing discourse, focus and substitution operations, were observed. Focus operations merely repeat, while substitutions repeat part but also alter a previous utterance in some way. Previous research with normal-language children shows that the predominant device a child uses changes developmentally, with focus operations more frequently used early and substitution operations emphasized later. The use of these devices was observed in the spontaneous conversations of three language-disordered children. Two were at a lower linguistic level (MLU's of 1.8 and 2.2) than the third (MLU 3.2). A developmental trend reflecting that of the normally developing children emerged. These results indicate that language-disordered children are not qualitatively different from normally developing children in their ability to use these particular devices for learning to participate in conversations.

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