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Language learnability and specific language impairment in children

  • Laurence B. Leonard (a1)


Theories of language learnability have focused on “normal” language development, but there is a group of children, termed “specifically language-impaired,” for whom these theories are also appropriate. These children present an interesting learnability problem because they develop language slowly, the intermediate points in their development differ in certain respects from the usual developmental stages, and they do not always achieve the adult level of language functioning. In this article, specifically language-impaired children are treated as normal learners dealing with an input that is distorted in principled ways. When the children are viewed from this perspective, Pinker's (1984) theory can account for many of the features of their language.


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Laurence B. Leonard, Audiology & Speech Sciences, Heavilon Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907


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Language learnability and specific language impairment in children

  • Laurence B. Leonard (a1)


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