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Language: Developing Syntax, Sentence Production, and Morphology

Complex Language Begins Early

Typical language learners develop complex syntax between two and three years of age. Most children are proficient by kindergarten.

Complex syntax and complex sentences develop simultaneously (Arndt and Schuele, 2013)

Suggested Syntax/Sentence Targets for Beginning AAC Users

  • Infinitives (e.g. For users combining 3-4 words, "I want/like: to go, to play, to eat," etc.)
  • Relative Clauses (e.g. Which one? "The one who is ..." "The one that is ...")
    • Example activity: Barrier Game - Clues describe "a thing that is ..., a person who is ..., a place where we ...").
  • More Complex Syntax
    • Adverbial Clauses (e.g. conjunctions like before, after, where, when, because)

Morphological targets

  • Plural s (e.g. cups, dogs)
  • Possessive s (e.g. boy's ball, mom's car)
  • First and second person pronouns (e.g. I, me, you)
  • Gender pronouns (e.g. he, she, they)
  • Present progressive (e.g. -ing ending)
  • Third person singular (e.g. wants, helps)
  • Uncontracted auxiliary/copula (e.g. he is going)
  • Contracted auxiliary/copula (e.g. he's eating)
  • Regular past tense (e.g. wanted)
  • In, on, under
  • Future tense (e.g. going to ..., will ...)
  • Object pronoun (e.g. him, her)
  • Irregular past tense (e.g. drank, put)
  • Possessive pronoun (e.g. his, hers)
  • Subject-verb inversion (e.g. Are you ...? Can I ...?)
  • Question words (e.g. what, where)