Verb Comprehension and Use in Down Syndrome
Michael, Sarah Elizabeth
Ratner, Nan B.
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This study examined verb and argument structure retrieval in 18 individuals, nine with Down syndrome (DS), ages 11 years, 11 months (11;11) to 32;10 and nine language age-matched typically-developing (TD) children ages 3;2 to 13;6. It was hypothesized that individuals with DS would exhibit a specific deficit in verb and argument structure retrieval. Results from verb and noun comprehension tasks, verb and noun naming tasks, grammaticality judgments, and narrative tasks were compared between groups. Neither single verb comprehension nor single verb naming differentiated the DS and TD groups. Individuals with DS performed significantly worse than TD individuals when asked to judge sentence grammaticality. Individuals with DS omitted verbs in elicited narratives significantly more often than TD individuals, specifically when productions of two-place and three-place verbs were attempted. Individuals with DS also omitted other necessary elements of argument structure, such as subjects, in sentences containing two-place and three-place verbs significantly more often than TD individuals.