Christiana Christodoulou, Department of English Studies, University of Cyprus and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gave a talk at LARC on Nov. 21. Title and abstract to follow:
Title: Subject-Verb Agreement in Down Syndrome: Is you walks in Greek the same as he walk in English?
Abstract: Previous work on the production of subject-verb (S/V) agreement by individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome (DS) reveal inconsistencies across languages. While studies on English individuals with DS report severe impairment with S/V agreement, Schaner-Wolles (2004) shows high accuracy rates for German individuals with DS. Despite the evidently low IQ and comparatively lower MLU scores, the morphosyntactic analysis on Cypriot Greek adults diagnosed with Down Syndrome (DS) shows close to ceiling performance: 98.5% accuracy for person and 99% accuracy for number. Preliminary analysis shows that younger children with DS present parallel performance. I suggest that differences determined to be morphosyntactic in nature, typically follow a pattern of selecting the default form for each inflectional feature – the 3rd value for person and the singular value for number – instead of the targeted one. I will also present a preliminary analysis on why these discrepancies across languages occur.