Jump to other news and events
Purdue signature

Laurence B. Leonard

Research Interests / Training Areas:

  • Grammatical deficits in children with language impairments
  • ¬†Cross-linguistic research with children with language impairments
  • Language treatment procedures for children with language impairments


Laurence B. Leonard is Rachel E. Stark Distinguished Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and Director of the Child Language Laboratory. He has numerous publications in the areas of child language development and disorders, with an emphasis on grammatical, lexical, and phonological factors. Leonard's research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, and he has served as Dissertation and Masters Thesis Advisor for numerous graduate students. Leonard's current research project explores characteristics of adults' linguistic input that might be misinterpreted by children with specific language impairment, leading them to produce many of the commonly reported grammatical errors documented for these children. Together with colleagues in the department, Leonard has employed looking-while-listening (eye gaze) paradigms, electrophysiological techniques, syntactic priming tasks, as well as more conventional comprehension and production tasks to pursue his research questions. Along with his work on English, Leonard has collaborated with colleagues around the world to examine the nature of specific language impairment in such languages as Cantonese, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish. Leonard currently teaches a graduate course in language disorders in children, the department's doctoral-level course in scientific writing, and various seminars on language acquisition and disorders.

Recent Publications:

Leonard, L. (2014). Children with specific language impairment (second edition). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Leonard, L., Deevy, P., Fey, M., & Bredin-Oja, S. (2013). Sentence comprehension in specific language impairment: A task designed to distinguish between cognitive capacity and syntactic complexity. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 577-589.

Leonard, L., & Dispaldro, M. (2013). The effects of production demands on grammatical weaknesses in specific language impairment: The case of clitic pronouns in Italian. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 1272-1286.

Leonard, L., Lukács, Â., & Kas, B. (2012). Tense and aspect in childhood language impairment: Contributions from Hungarian. Applied Psycholinguistics, 33, 305-328.

Leonard, L., & Deevy, P. (2011). Input distribution influences degree of auxiliary use by children with SLI. Cognitive Linguistics, 22, 247-273.

Leonard, L. (2011). The primacy of priming in grammatical development and intervention: A tutorial. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 54, 608-621.

Click here for complete CV