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This study highlights the importance of error analysis in providing a comprehensive profile of an individual's grammatical ability with regard to relative clause (RC) constructions. The aim was to identify error patterns in the production of RCs by English-speaking, school-aged children with specific language impairment (SLI) and to relate them to their level of competence with these structures. Children with SLI (mean age = 6;10, n = 32) and two control groups - a typically developing group matched for age (mean age = 6;11, n = 32) and a younger typically developing group (mean age = 4;9, n = 20), repeated sentences containing RCs that represented a range of syntactic roles. Data are presented on three distinct error patterns - the provision of simple sentences, obligatory relativizer omission and RC conversions. Each is related to the level of competence on RCs that each child has achieved.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Linguist Phon

Publication Date





437 - 449


Child, Child Language, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Language Development, Language Development Disorders, Language Tests, Linguistics, Male, Semantics, Verbal Behavior, Vocabulary