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J Child Lang. 2014 Mar;41(2):241-74. doi: 10.1017/S030500091200058X. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Gender and agreement processing in children with developmental language disorder.

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Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Two experiments tested whether Russian-speaking children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) are sensitive to gender agreement when performing a gender decision task. In Experiment 1, the presence of overt gender agreement between verbs and/or adjectival modifiers and postverbal subject nouns memory was varied. In Experiment 2, agreement violations were introduced and the targets varied between words, pseudo-words, or pseudo-words with derivational suffixes. In both experiments, children with DLD did not differ from typically developing children in their reaction time or sensitivity to agreement features. In both groups, trials with feminine gender resulted in a higher error rate. Children with DLD displayed lower overall accuracy, which was related to differences in phonological memory in both experiments. Furthermore, in Experiment 1 group differences were not maintained after phonological memory was entered as a covariate. The results are discussed with respect to various processing and linguistic theories of DLD.

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