Original Research

The acquisition of some dimensional adjectives by both normal and language-impaired children

Susan G. Wright
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 28, No 1 | a359 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v28i1.359 | © 1981 Susan G. Wright | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 November 1981 | Published: 11 November 1981

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Susan G. Wright, Psychological and Guidance Services, Transvaal Education Department, Johannesburg North-West, Johannesbur, South Africa

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Abstract

The main aim of this study was to assess various predictions made by H. and E. Clark with respect to the acquisition of certain dimensional adjectives. In addition, the performance of children with impaired language skills was compared with that of children with normally developing language. Eighteen subjects in the age range 3,3 to 4 years were divided into two groups; those with adequate language (C group) and those with impaired language (E group). The dimensional adjective pairs of  "length", "tallness" and "width" were investigated on comprehension tasks of increasing dimensionality. A qualitative analysis of  the data, for  both C and Ε groups, revealed findings supporting the predictions concerning the order of dimensional adjective acquisition in terms of semantic complexity, the acquisition of  the unmarked pair member before the marked member, and the acquisition of the concept of polarity before dimensionality. A quantitative analysis of  the data revealed significant  differences between the C and Ε groups on a few tasks only. Implications for the researcher and speech therapist are considered.

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