Semin Speech Lang 2004; 25(1): 41-55
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-824825
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Diagnosing Language Variations: Underlying Principles for Syntactic Assessment

Thomas Roeper1
  • 1Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
15 April 2004 (online)

The assessment of complex aspects of children's syntactic development can be carried out in a dialect-neutral fashion. The item types proposed for this purpose encompass wh-questions, passives, and articles, and test the child's understanding of implicit grammatical relations, the rules governing syntactic movement, and discourse linking. We present the rationale for the items and the specific research supporting them, as well as some suggestions for how to help children who fail on the concepts to gain a better understanding of them.


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Thomas W RoeperPh.D. 

Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA 01003