Sentence repetititon as a measure of early grammatical development in Italian.

Research on language acquisition and disorders highlight the need to evaluate the early phases of language development for at least two reasons: for the early identification of children with language problems (screening), and to determine the nature and severity of language disorders or language delays (diagnosis) so that appropriate interventions can be designed. There are very few instruments to evaluate the earliest stages of development in Italian language, mainly for preschool children. Two studies were carried out, to evaluate the reliability and validity of a new Sentence Repetition Test as a measure of grammatical development in Italian, a richly inflected language. The test includes 27 sentence of different length and complexity. Each sentence is accompained with a picture reproducing its global meaning. Study 1: 100 middle and lower class children (49 boys and 51 girls) between 2 and 4 years of age participated in this study. Each child was administered the repetition test with a test-retest design after 10 days. We evaluated the influence of age on the performance on the test. Test results were submitted to single factor analysis of variance, using five level of age as indipendent variable. To evaluate the realiability of the test, test-retest correlational analysis were conducted. Study 2: 25 middle and lower class children between 2 and 4 years of age, balanced for age and gender participated in this study. The performance of the children on the repetition test was compared with their spontaneous language data.. Moreover the same children received a Verbal Memory Span Test, consisting in a list of 10 strings of different number of words. The influence of verbal memory span on sentence repetition scores was evaluated. Correlational analysis were conducted to evaluate the relationships between free-speech, repetition test and verbal memory span. Results demonstrate that the repetition test is reliable, discriminates among the different age groups examined, highlights the relevant developmental stages described in the literature, and provides a reliable measure of mean length of utterance. Repetition scores correlate with utterance length in spontaneous production and with verbal memory span.

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Devescovi A.
Caselli M.C.
2 (2007): 187–208.
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Devescovi A., Caselli M.C./titolo:Sentence repetititon as a measure of early grammatical development in Italian./doi:/rivista:/anno:2007/pagina_da:187/pagina_a:208/intervallo_pagine:187–208/volume:2
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