Production of Infinitives By 5-Year-Old Children with Language-Impairment on an Elicitation Task

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The infinitive productions of eight 5-year-old children with specific language impairment (SLI) on an elicited production task were compared with the infinitive productions of 25 3- to 5-year-old children with normally-developing language (NL). The basic infinitive structure itself did not seem to be a problem for these children since all eight of the children with SLI produced infinitival complements with at least five different main verbs. However, other aspects of infinitive sentences which must be learned as a lexical property of specific verbs appeared to present more difficulty for some of the children with SLI. Individual children with SLI showed limited or no subcategorization for ditransitivity (production of both an NP and an infinitival complement) or for infinitives with a lexical complement subject. In contrast to previous reports, only one of the children with SLI omitted the infinitive marker to more than once. Reference errors were consistent with what has previously been reported for NL children.



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