Language and Linguistics Seminar Series: Week 5 with Dr Vicky Chondrogianni, University of Edinburgh

"The acquisition of tense in English as a function of age and language impairment: the case of Welsh-English bilingual children in Welsh-medium schools"

  • Thu 1 Nov 18

    12:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr Vicky Chondrogianni, University of Edinburgh

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Language and Linguistics Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Language and Linguistics, Department of

  • Contact details

This week we are joined by Dr Vicky Chondrogianni, University of Edinburgh, to talk about her recent research.

12-1pm Dr Chondrogianni will take to the stage to deliver her talk, followed by a lunch provided by Language and Linguistics from 1pm-2pm.

We look forward to seeing you there: this event is open to all students and staff!


Children with Specific Language Impairment have been shown to have problems acquiring verbal morphology (regular/irregular verbs, third person –s), with the latter being a marker that distinguishes children with typical from children with atypical development. This  holds both for monolingual children and for bilingual children attending English mainstream education. What happens though when English is the minority language both in the community and in the school?  Is tense still reliable marker? And does children accuracy and error types change as a function of age, even when exposure to English remains relatively limited?

We address these questions by investigating the acquisition of third person singular (3SG) –s and past tense in younger (mean age: 67 months) and older (mean age: 93.72 months) Welsh L1 – English sequential bilingual (L2) children with typical development (L2-TLD) and in younger children with language impairment (L2-SLI_Y) age-matched with the younger L2-TLD children. The results indicated that the three groups differed in their production of 3SG –s and regular past tense but not in terms of accuracy on irregular past tense verbs, when age-appropriate vocabulary skills were considered. The L2-SLI_Y children produced similar error types to the L2-TLD_Y children, who differed from their L2-TLD_O peers in this respect. L2 children’s vocabulary size, non-verbal intelligence and item-level factors, such as frequency and morphophonology, differentially contributed to their performance across the various morphemes. We discuss these results within current accounts of language development and impairment. 

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