Specific Language Impairment in Children: A Comparison of English and Swedish

Laurence B Leonard, Kristina Hansson, Ulrika Nettelbladt, Patricia Deevy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a cross-linguistic investigation of English-and Swedish-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI) in an attempt to determine whether Wexler's (1998; 2003) (Extended) Unique Checking Constraint (EUCC) can account for the grammatical profiles of these groups of children. In Study 1, a group of Swedish-speaking preschoolers with SLI showed greater use of finite verb inflections and copula forms than a group of English-speaking preschoolers with SLI, even though the two groups were carefully matched according to both age and severity of language impairment. In Study 2, the same Swedish-speaking children with SLI showed high levels of appropriate verb-second use with finite verbs. However, they were less proficient in this regard than a group of younger typically developing Swedish children with similar mean lengths of utterance. The findings from both studies are generally compatible with predictions based on the EUCC. Issues in need of future investigation are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-246
JournalLanguage Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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