Specific language impairment in a morphologically complex agglutinative Indian language—Kannada

Shivani Tiwari, Prathibha Karanth, B. Rajashekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Specific Language Impairment (SLI) remains an underinvestigated disorder in morphologically complex agglutinative languages such as Kannada. Currently, only a few case reports are available on SLI in Dravidian languages. The morphological complexity inherent to Dravidian languages such as Kannada provides a potential avenue to verify one of the two prevailing accounts of SLI: the morphological richness theory and CGC (Computational Grammatical Complexity) hypothesis. While the previous theory predicts the relatively spared performance of children with SLI (CwSLI) on syntactic morphology in morphologically complex languages, the latter predicts a diametrically opposite performance. Data from a group of 15 Kannada-speaking CwSLI supported the morphological richness theory, and further revealed five distinct profiles of SLI. The results of this study reflected that CwSLI learning the agglutinative language (Kannada) as compared with language-matched children without SLI, displayed some shared deficits (e.g., in phonological processing on a non-word repetition task) with CwSLI learning English. However, CwSLI learning the morphosyntactically rich language Kannada differed remarkably from English-learning CwSLI by not showing deficits in syntactic morphology relative to language-matched peers (e.g., PNG, verb, tense, case, and pronoun).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-39
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 01-03-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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