A story description task in children with Down's syndrome: lexical and morphosyntactic abilities

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A story description task was used to elicit short stories by 10 Italian children and adolescents with Down's syndrome and 10 normal children matched on mean length of utterance (MLU). Data analysis focused on a subset of lexical, morphological and syntactic aspects of language use. The results show that the subjects with Down's syndrome and their normal matches use a similar lexical repertoire. However, the two groups differ with respect to omissions of free morphemes, and some aspects of syntactic and pragmatic abilities. These data on Italian subjects corroborate and extend previous findings on other languages: despite an extensive repertoire of lexical and grammatical items, subjects with Down's syndrome seem unable to use such elements appropriately and consistently across contexts.

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