Morphosyntactic abilities of toddlers with hearing impairment and normal hearing: evidence from a sentence-repetition task

Rama Novogrodsky, Natalia Meir, Rachel Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While considerable research exists on morphosyntax of school-age children with hearing impairment (HI), little is known about development of morphosyntax at younger ages. Some studies show that young children with HI have a delay in language abilities compared with children with normal hearing (NH); conversely, other studies show evidence that they achieve age-appropriate language development. Aims: To investigate whether characteristics of morphosyntactic development displayed by young children with HI are unique or whether they are similar to those of NH children. Methods & Procedures: Fifty-four Hebrew-speaking children (15 with HI and 39 with NH), aged 22–40 months, completed a novel Hebrew sentence repetition (SRep) task designed to evaluate morphosyntactic abilities. Accuracy on the total correct structure, repetition of content and function words, and repetition of specific morphemes were compared across groups. Outcomes & Results: At the earliest stages of combining words to sentences, toddlers in both groups showed a large variation in morphosyntactic development, with no significant difference between the two groups. Children with HI and NH showed similar results for the acquisition of morphemes and various syntactic structures. In the group of children with HI, hearing capability accounted for 28% of the variance of the SRep task. Conclusions & Implications: The findings suggest typical morphosyntax capacity at the onset of language development among of children with HI who are diagnosed early and receive intensive intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-824
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists


  • hearing impairment
  • language development
  • sentence repetition
  • syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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