ArticlePDF Available

Bilingual children with specific language impairment: Theoretical and applied issues

Article

Bilingual children with specific language impairment: Theoretical and applied issues

Abstract

Bilingualism is often considered an inappropriate developmental choice for children with specific language impairment (SLI) because, according to a widespread belief, these children's limited capacity for language would be overtaxed by learning two linguistic systems. However, there has not been adequate empirical investigation of SLI in bilingual children to support, or refute, this belief and the professional practices that are based on it. On the theoretical side, two opposing perspectives concerning the nature of the deficit in SLI make different predictions for the outcome of children with SLI learning two languages, and one set of predictions is consistent with the popular belief stated above. This article is aimed at addressing both the applied concerns and the theoretical debate with evidence from two studies examining the morphological acquisition of French–English bilingual children with SLI as compared to French and English monolinguals with SLI.
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Author Queries Article APS 030
AQ1: Hamann 2004 not provided.
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28 (2007), 551–564
Printed in the United States of America
DOI: 10.1017/S0142716407070300
Bilingual children with specific
language impairment: Theoretical
and applied issues
JOHANNE PARADIS
University of Alberta
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE
Johanne Paradis, Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E7,
Canada. E-mail: johanne.paradis@ualberta.ca
ABSTRACT
Bilingualism is often considered an inappropriate developmental choice for children with specific
language impairment (SLI) because, according to a widespread belief, these children’s limited capacity
for language would be overtaxed by learning two linguistic systems. However, there has not been
adequate empirical investigation of SLI in bilingual children to support, or refute, this belief and
the professional practices that are based on it. On the theoretical side, two opposing perspectives
concerning the nature of the deficit in SLI make different predictions for the outcome of children with
SLI learning two languages, and one set of predictions is consistent with the popular belief stated above.
This article is aimed at addressing both the applied concerns and the theoretical debate with evidence
from two studies examining the morphological acquisition of French–English bilingual children with
SLI as compared to French and English monolinguals with SLI.
In the first half of the 20th century it was commonly thought that bilingualism
in early childhood was detrimental to children’s linguistic and intellectual de-
velopment, but an established body of research since that time has shown that
bilingualism either has neutral or enhancing effects on children’s cognitive de-
velopment (see reviews in Bialystok, 2001; Genesee, Paradis, & Crago, 2004;
Hakuta, 1986). Although attitudes have shifted greatly toward accepting bilin-
gualism in childhood as healthy and perhaps advantageous, these attitudes only
apply to children who are typically developing (TD). Children who present with
language-learning disabilities are usually thought to be unsuitable candidates for
dual-language learning in childhood. Anecdotal experiences of my own and those
of my colleagues with speech–language pathologists, school psychologists, ele-
mentary school teachers, pediatricians, and parents have revealed that there is a
widespread negative attitude about children with language disorder learning two
languages. For example, parents of children with language-learning disabilities
are often counseled out of French immersion schools by principals, teachers,
and other professionals. In addition, if two languages are spoken in the home of
a child with language disorder, speech–language pathologists often recommend
© 2007 Cambridge University Press 0142-7164/07 $15.00
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
552
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
that the household switch to using just one language. (For further elaboration, see
Genesee et al., 2004; Juarez, 1983; Kohnert, Yim, Nett, Kan, & Duran, 2005.)
These practices and the beliefs that underlie them are problematic because they
are based on common sense rather than evidence. The common sense notion is
that a disordered language faculty could not possibly cope with learning two
languages. The majority of the research literature on dual language development
and disorders is oriented toward giving advice to educators and speech–language
pathologists in their assessment and intervention practices in multilingual set-
tings (Juarez, 1983; Kohnert et al., 2005; Roseberry-McKibbin, 1995; Westernoff,
1991). Studies directly examining bilingual children with language disorders are
few, and are limited in terms of what they contribute to our understanding of
whether bilingualism impacts negatively on affected children (see Paradis, Crago,
Genesee, & Rice, 2003, for elaboration). Consequently, one goal of this article was
to provide some grounding for evidence-based practices with bilingual children
presenting with language disorders.
Bilingualism in children with language-learning disabilities has significant the-
oretical as well as applied relevance. There is an ongoing debate concerning the
mechanisms causing specific language impairment (SLI), which is a developmen-
tal language disorder that has no readily identifiable etiology such as hearing loss,
autism, or mental retardation. Children with SLI exhibit typical social–emotional
development, hearing and motor–speech abilities, and have IQs within the normal
limits, but have language abilities significantly below age expectations. (For more
information on SLI, see Leonard, 1998.) The debate about the mechanisms causing
SLI consists of two main perspectives: cognitive/perceptual processing accounts
and linguistic representational accounts. Each of these perspectives makes differ-
ent predictions for the outcome of children with SLI learning two languages. There-
fore, research on bilingual children with SLI could shed light on this theoretical
debate, which has hitherto been addressed primarily with data from monolinguals
only. Accordingly, another goal of this article is to make a unique contribution to
our understanding of the nature of SLI in all affected children through examining
bilingual affected children.
PROCESSING AND REPRESENTATIONAL ACCOUNTS OF SLI
There is group of explanatory accounts of SLI that have in common the underlying
assumption that children affected with this disorder have deficits in some basic
cognitive and perceptual processing mechanisms, which cause profound diffi-
culties learning language and also have effects in nonlinguistic cognition (Ellis
Weismer, Evans, & Hesketh, 1999; Kohnert & Windsor, 2004; Leonard, Bortolini,
Caselli, McGregor, & Sabbadini, 1992; Miller, Kail, Leonard, & Tomblin, 2001).
The generalized slowing hypothesis is such a processing-limitation account that
claims children with SLI have a generalized deceleration of their ability to intake,
store, and access linguistic information (e.g., Miller et al., 2001). Such limita-
tions in processing speed are thought to underlie the very protracted linguistic
development in children with SLI because even though they have been exposed
to target language input for the same duration of time as their unaffected age
peers, they need much more time on task to process that information and develop
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
553
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
linguistically. If a child with SLI were to learn two languages instead of one, the
generalized slowing hypothesis would predict that this child would show delays
not only compared to monolingual unaffected age peers in each language, but
also compared to monolingual age peers with SLI. This is because the decelerated
processing mechanisms of this child would have twice as much linguistic infor-
mation to deal with in the same amount of exposure time as monolinguals. Note
that the generalized slowing hypothesis predictions for bilingual development in
children with SLI is highly consistent with the common-sense belief discussed
above.
Another set of explanatory approaches to SLI claims that children affected with
this disorder have selective deficits within the domain of linguistic representation
itself (Clahsen, Bartke, & G
¨
ollner, 1997; Jakubowicz & Nash, 2001; Rice, 2003;
van der Lely, 2003; Wexler, 2003). Although the hypothesized locus of the deficits
varies between accounts, the central assumption they all share is that the criteria
determining these deficits can be expressed in terms of domain-specific linguistic
complexity alone and need not be derived from extralinguistic, domain-general
cognition and perception. The disruption within delay account argues that children
with SLI show overall delay in their language development compared to unaffected
age peers, but also show pernicious difficulties with individual linguistic structures
that go beyond what their general delay would indicate (Rice, 2003, 2004). These
“disrupted” structures are those that require certain linguistic computations for
which children with SLI have incomplete or faulty abilities to establish the appro-
priate representation (Wexler, 2003). Rice, Wexler, and colleagues have argued
that morphology marking the grammatical feature tense in English (e.g., past [-ed]
or BE as an auxiliary verb) is a prime example of a disrupted structure (Rice &
Wexler, 1996; Rice, Wexler, & Hershberger, 1998), and disrupted structures could
be construed as clinical markers because measuring children’s accuracy in using
them could circumscribe the clinical from the nonclinical population (Rice &
Wexler, 1996, 2001). Even if a child with SLI was learning two languages, this
would not necessarily change their proficiency with respect to those aspects of
language considered that are considered to be clinical markers for monolingual
children with SLI. This is because the mechanism causing the difficulty with
these particular linguistic structures is internal to linguistic representation, and
therefore, the reduced input a bilingual child receives in each language compared
with monolinguals would not impact on their (in)ability to represent the structure.
The processing and representational accounts contrast not only in their pre-
dictions for dual-language development in children with SLI, but also in their
approach to explaining uneven linguistic profiles displayed by all children with
SLI. Take the example that English-speaking children with SLI show signifi-
cantly greater difficulties producing grammatical morphology that marks tense
than they do with other kinds of grammatical morphology (Bedore & Leonard,
1998; Leonard, Eyer, Bedore, & Grela, 1997; Rice, 2003; Rice & Wexler, 1996).
Although a representational account like disruption within delay is clearly compat-
ible with uneven profiles, and in fact, has been conceived around them, processing
accounts offer less straightforward explanations for this phenomenon. It is pos-
sible that a proponent of the generalized slowing hypothesis might argue that
selective deficits on tense morphemes are nothing more than an outcome of the
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
554
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
generalized delay children with SLI display in their language development; after
all, in the acquisition sequence of grammatical morphemes in English in TD chil-
dren, the ones marking tense tend to be acquired later (Brown, 1973; de Villiers &
de Villers, 1973). However, TD children show a gap between their mastery of
nontense marking morphemes and tense marking morphemes of about 12 months
(Brown, 1973, de Villiers & de Villiers, 1973); whereas children with SLI show a
gap of about 4 years between their mastery of plural [-s] and third person singular
[-s], for example (Rice, 2003; Rice & Wexler, 2001). Thus, the magnitude of the
gap for children with SLI is much greater than their overall language delay would
suggest.
Another line of explanation within the processing perspective to account for un-
even profiles is the surface hypothesis that claims children with SLI find less pho-
netically salient morphemes more difficult to acquire because these children have
perceptual in addition to processing limitations (Leonard et al., 1992; Leonard &
Eyer, 1996; Leonard et al., 1997). On this hypothesis, grammatical morphology
would pose difficulties in many languages because these morphemes are often
affixes of brief phonetic duration, for instance, English tense morphemes like
[-ed] and [-s] are most often pronounced with single consonantal, nonsyllabic
allomorphs. Leonard (1998) proposes that the surface hypothesis, together with
the generalized slowing hypothesis, could potentially explain some uneven devel-
opmental profiles: the morphemes that show extremely protracted acquisition in
affected children, like tense morphemes in English, would be those that are less
phonetically salient. To test whether the processing or representational account
best explains uneven linguistic profiles, morphemes that are equivalent in saliency
but different in terms of clinical marker status need to be examined.
In this article, results from two studies examining the acquisition of grammat-
ical morphemes in bilingual children with SLI and their monolingual peers are
discussed in terms of their pertinence to the predictions of representational and
processing accounts.
1
The validity of each account is assessed by comparisons
between bilinguals and monolinguals as well as between different grammatical
morpheme types.
TENSE MARKING MORPHEMES IN BILINGUALS AND MONOLINGUALS
WITH SLI
Prior research has shown that tense marking morphology is acquired very late by
English-speaking children with SLI, posing more severe difficulties than morphol-
ogy that does not mark tense (nontense). Specifically, English-speaking children
with SLI from the ages of 5–8 years show lower accuracy in language production
with tense marking morphemes as a group than nontense marking morphemes,
whereas their unaffected age peers have a small or nonexistent gap in their accu-
racy with tense versus nontense morphology (Rice, 2003; Rice & Wexler 2001;
Rice, Wexler, & Hershberger, 1998). French-speaking monolingual children also
display this uneven profile with tense marking versus nontense marking mor-
phemes, as well as differences with unaffected age peers regarding tense marking
morphemes (Jakubowicz & Nash, 2001; Paradis & Crago, 2001; 2004). Because
tense and nontense marking morphemes display an uneven linguistic profile in
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
555
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
both French and English SLI, this makes them appropriate linguistic structures for
bilingual/monolingual comparisons.
The two theoretical perspectives contrast in their predictions for this uneven
linguistic profile in bilinguals with SLI. The processing account would predict
bilinguals with SLI to lag behind monolinguals with SLI in their accuracy with
both tense and nontense morphemes in each language because they have reduced
exposure to each language, and thus, should be less advanced linguistically across
the board. The processing account would also predict that any uneven profile
between tense and nontense grammatical morphemes displayed by children with
SLI should be explainable by differences in perceptual salience. Put differently,
if a tense and a nontense grammatical morpheme are homophonous, such as
third person singular [-s] and plural [-s], then there should be no difference in
children’s accuracy with them because they are both equally (non)salient. The
representational account makes different predictions. First, there would be no
reason to predict that bilinguals with SLI would be delayed compared to mono-
lingual age peers with SLI in their accuracy with tense morphemes because the
source of the problem with these morphemes is internal to the linguistic sys-
tem. Second, the representational account would predict that both bilingual and
monolingual children with SLI would perform worse than their age-matched TD
peers for their accuracy with tense morphemes, but not necessarily for nontense
morphemes because the latter are not disrupted structures/clinical markers. Third
and finally, the representational account would predict that both bilingual and
monolingual children with SLI would be less accurate with tense than nontense
morphemes because of the formers’ status as clinical markers, and that extralin-
guistic factors like perceptual salience would not play a role in determining this
pattern.
Paradis, Crago, Genesee, and Rice (2000, 2003) sought to determine whether
bilingual children with SLI were delayed compared to monolingual age peers
with SLI in each language in their acquisition of grammatical morphology, and
furthermore, whether they displayed the same linguistic profiles for grammatical
morphology as their monolingual peers acquiring each language. As such, this
research is relevant to the theoretical debate being considered here.
Paradis et al. (2000, 2003) examined five groups of 7-year-old children alto-
gether: (a) French–English simultaneous bilinguals with SLI (N = 8), (b) French-
speaking monolinguals with SLI (N = 10), (c) French-speaking TD monolinguals
(N = 10), (d) English-speaking monolinguals with SLI (N = 21), and (e) English-
speaking TD monolinguals (N = 21). Data from the children was in the form of
spontaneous language samples. The language sample transcripts were coded for
use in obligatory context of grammatical morphemes marking the feature tense,
and grammatical morphemes that mark other, nontense features. The morphemes
coded as part of the tense and nontense groups in English are given in Example 1
below, and those as part of the tense and nontense groups in French are given in
Example 2. The percentage of correct use in obligatory context was calculated for
each target morpheme as the number of target morphemes used out of the number
of obligatory contexts for that morpheme. Composite tense and nontense scores
were calculated as the average of the mean percentage of use in obligatory context
for each tense and nontense morpheme.
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
556
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
1. a. English tense: third person singular [-s], “he walks”
b. English tense: past [-ed], “he walk
ed”
c. English tense: past irregular, “he
ran” (run)
d. English tense: BE copula, “he
is happy”
e. English tense: BE auxiliary, “he
is walking”
f. English nontense: progressive [-ing], “he is walk
ing”
g. English nontense: prepositions [in/on], “he is
in the house”
h. English nontense: plural [-s], “the book
s on the table”
2. a. French tense: present indicative [verb stem], elle
marche “she walks/is
walking”
b. French tense: past auxiliary [avoir/
ˆ
etre], elle
amarch
´
e “she walked”
c. French tense: future auxiliary [aller], elle
va marcher “she is going to walk”
d. French tense: copula [
ˆ
etre], elle
est contente,“sheishappy
e. French nontense: prepositions [
`
a/de], elle va
`
alamaison“she is going to the
house”
f. French nontense: determiners [articles, possessives],
la fille/mon papier “the
girl/my paper”
Our analyses in Paradis et al. (2000) showed first that whereas the TD mono-
linguals had scores at ceiling in both languages for both tense and nontense mor-
phemes, the monolingual and bilingual children with SLI did not. In particular,
the children with SLI had lower composite scores for tense. This result confirms
predictions from both the processing and representational accounts of SLI that
affected children would perform more poorly than their unaffected age peers with
grammatical morphology. However, the processing and representational accounts
contrast in their predictions regarding whether bilinguals with SLI would lag be-
hind monolinguals with SLI. Paradis et al. (2003) found no significant differences
between the bilingual and monolingual SLI groups for the production of tense
and nontense morphemes in either language. Another contrasting prediction of
the theoretical accounts regard whether children with SLI would show uneven
profiles with tense and nontense morphemes. The comparisons across morphemes
types conducted by Paradis et al. (2003) revealed that for all groups of children
with SLI, and in each language for the bilinguals, children were less accurate
with tense than nontense morphemes. Therefore, these bilinguals with SLI were
not lagging behind their monolingual counterparts in either language in their
production of grammatical morphology in general, and displayed clear uneven
linguistic profiles. Both these results are more consistent with the predictions of a
representational than processing account of SLI.
The processing account under consideration could be consistent with these
findings on the grounds that all the tense morphology examined is nonsalient
perceptually, and therefore likely to cause extra difficulties for children with SLI.
However, not all the tense morphemes studied as part of Paradis et al. (2000,
2003) are equally nonsalient. The auxiliary verbs in French for the past and future
are syllabic (C)Vs, and thus are more salient phonetically than the nonsyllabic
consonantal suffixes in English. However, the monolingual and bilingual children
with SLI scored 83.4 and 84.9% correct with past [-ed] in English respectively, and
82.8 and 80.2% with the past auxiliary verbs avoir/
ˆ
etre in French, respectively.
Thus, the more syllabic quality of the French morpheme was not conferring
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
557
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
advantages on the children’s performance in French. Furthermore, the pattern of
greater accuracy with nontense versus tense morphemes was apparent even when
individual morphemes were homophonous in their allomorphy, and consequently,
equally nonsalient. For example, both monolingual and bilingual children with
SLI scored higher for with plural [-s] in English, 96.6 and 92.5%, respectively,
than with third person singular [-s] in English, 86.5 and 72.7%, respectively.
OBJECT PRONOUNS AND ARTICLES IN BILINGUALS AND
MONOLINGUALS WITH SLI
Paradis, Crago, and Genesee (2005/2006) conducted further comparisons of mor-
phological acquisition by monolinguals and bilinguals with SLI, and built on the
findings in Paradis et al. (2000, 2003) in the following ways. First, in this study, the
target structure examined, direct object pronouns, is noted to be difficult to acquire
for impaired learners in French, whereas the semantic–pragmatic counterpart in
English does not present difficulty for impaired learners. Thus, the data from
Paradis et al. (2005/2006) offered a more stringent test of the extent to which
bilingual acquisition patterns parallel those of monolinguals because uneven pat-
terns across a bilingual’s two languages would be expected for object pronomi-
nals. Second, Paradis et al. (2005/2006) included a language-matched TD bilin-
gual comparison group. The rationale behind including this group was that if
monolingual–bilingual differences were found in acquisition patterns, it would
be important to know whether these were likely the result of impaired bilin-
gual development in particular, or bilingual development in general. Younger,
language-matched TD bilingual children were chosen over age-matched TD bilin-
gual children because the former would show developmental processes, that
is, they would not be at ceiling in their accuracy with the target morphemes.
Third, the Paradis et al. (2005/2006) study was designed to directly compare
children’s use of homophonous morphemes, only one of which could be con-
sidered a clinical marker in SLI. Although such a comparison was possible post
hoc for some morphemes in Paradis et al. (2003), it was not part of the main
design. Like Paradis et al. (2000, 2003), Paradis et al. (2005/2006) also provides
data relevant to the claims of the processing and representational accounts of
SLI.
Direct object pronouns have a different morphosyntactic status in French and
English (Cardinaletti & Starke, 1999; Kayne, 1975). French direct object pronouns
are clitics, meaning they are akin to bound morphemes and attach to a verbal
host, in contrast with English direct object pronouns, which are freestanding
morphemes like lexical noun phrases. Furthermore, French direct object clitics
appear preverbally, even though the canonical direct object position in French is
postverbal, as shown in Examples 3a to 3c. In English, both lexical and pronominal
direct objects appear in the same postverbal position, shown in Examples 3d and
3e. Although there is no consensus on the linguistic theoretic analysis of object
clitics in French, all accounts put forward would support the contention that
these structures are more morphosyntactically complex than English direct object
pronouns (e.g., Belletti, 1999; Cardinaletti & Starke, 1999; Jakubowicz, Nash,
Rigaut, & G
´
erard, 1998).
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
558
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
3. a. Isabelle range un jouet. “Isabelle is putting away a toy”
b. Isabelle
le range. “Isabelle is putting it away”
c. *Isabelle range
le. “Isabelle is putting it away”
d. Isabelle is petting
the cat. cf. “Isabelle caresse le chat
e. Isabelle is petting
him. cf. “Isabelle le caresse
Definite articles in French are also clitics and are homophonous with the third
person direct object clitics. The masculine singular, feminine singular, and plu-
ral forms are le/la/les, respectively, for both clitics and articles. Furthermore,
both definite articles and direct object clitics possess similar morphophonological
properties that render both sets of morphemes potentially nonsalient for learners.
Because stress is assigned phrase or word finally in French, preverbal and prenom-
inal clitics are always unstressed (Granfeldt & Schlyter, 2004; Kayne, 1975). In
addition, before vowel initial verbs and nouns, the clitics le/la lose their vowel and
resyllabify with the following verb or noun, shown in Examples 4a to 4e. The plural
clitic les, undergoes a process of liaison, where the final orthographic “s” that is
silent otherwise is pronounced as [z] and becomes a syllable onset for the following
noun or verb if they are vowel–initial. The presence of liaison for verbs can be
seen by comparing Examples 4f and 4g. The processes of elision, liaison, and
resyllabification could render both direct object clitics and articles opaque in the
input to learners, and consequently, difficult to parse. In sum, on grounds of mor-
phosyntactic complexity, direct object clitics, but not definite articles or English
object pronouns, would be considered difficult structures for learners; whereas, on
the grounds of perceptual accessibility in the input, both direct object clitics and ar-
ticles should be difficult structures to acquire, but not English object pronouns.
4. a. Alexandre le voit [l\.vwa] Alexandre sees him/it”
b. Alexandre
l’aime [l’m] Alexandre loves him/it”
c. *Alexandre
le aime [l\.’m] Alexandre loves him/it”
d.
la chambre de ma fille “my daughter’s room”
e.
l’enseignante de ma fille “my daughter’s teacher”
f. Alexandre
les voit [le.vwa] Alexandre sees them”
g. Alexandre
les aime [le.z’m] Alexandre loves them”
Research on the monolingual acquisition of object clitics in French suggests
that they are a very difficult structure to acquire both for TD and impaired learners.
French-speaking TD children begin to produce object clitics in their speech later
than other pronominals, roughly between the ages of 2 years, 6 months (2;6)
and 3;0, and variably omit object clitics in their speech until the age of 4;0 or
older (Chillier et al., 2001; Clark, 1985; Hamann, Rizzi, & Frauenfelder, 1996;
Jakubowicz & Rigaut, 2000). French-speaking children with SLI exhibit even
more profound difficulties with producing direct object clitics that extend into
their school years and make them quite distinct from unaffected age peers (Chillier
et al., 2001; Gr
¨
uter, 2005; Hamann, 2004; Jakubowicz et al., 1998; Paradis, 2004).
AQ1
Conversely, definite articles are not difficult for French-speaking children with
SLI to acquire (Jakubowicz et al., 1998; Paradis & Crago, 2004). The mor-
phosyntactic complexity of direct object clitics and their protracted development in
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
559
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
French-speaking children with SLI has prompted researchers to hypothesize that
these forms are clinical markers of SLI in French, because they pose similar com-
putational challenges as tense morphology for impaired grammars (Jakubowicz &
Nash, 2001; Wexler, 2003). In contrast to tense morphology in English and French,
however, difficulties with object pronominals are specific to French SLI only.
As with the acquisition of tense and nontense morphemes, the processing and
representational accounts make contrasting predictions regarding bilinguals and
monolinguals with SLI in their acquisition patterns and rates with object pronouns
and definite articles. Although both accounts would predict French direct object
clitics to be a difficult target structure to acquire for children affected with SLI, the
processing account would predict bilingual French speakers with SLI to have more
pronounced difficulties with these clitics than monolingual French speakers with
SLI because of their decelerated information processing abilities. The represen-
tational account would not predict such bilingual–monolingual differences in the
development of object clitics. In addition, the processing account would predict
that children with SLI learning French should have difficulties with definite arti-
cles as well as object clitics due their shared surface characteristics, whereas the
representational account would predict more pronounced difficulties with object
clitics than articles because of the formers’ greater morphosyntactic complexity
and consequent status as clinical marker.
The data from Paradis et al. (2005/2006) provides evidence bearing on these
predictions. In this study we examined spontaneous speech samples from the fol-
lowing groups of children, most of whom were the same as those in Paradis et al.
(2000, 2003): (a) bilingual 7-year-olds with SLI, (b) monolingual French-speaking
7-year-olds with SLI, (c) monolingual TD French-speaking 7-year-olds, and
(d) bilingual TD 3-year-olds, matched on the basis of mean length of utterance
to the bilinguals with SLI. The children’s transcripts were coded for the use of
direct object pronouns in English and direct object clitics in French in pronom-
inalization contexts, and for the use of definite articles in French in obligatory
contexts. Therefore, the percentage of use of clitic/pronoun objects was calculated
as the number of clitics/pronouns out of the total of clitics/pronouns, null objects,
and lexical objects used in contexts where pronominalization would be felicitous
pragmatically. The percentage of use of definite articles in obligatory context was
calculated as the number of definite articles used out of the total of definite articles,
null articles, or inappropriate determiners used in context.
Looking at clitic use in French first, we found that TD monolinguals were at
ceiling, whereas the monolinguals and bilinguals with SLI, and the TD bilingual
3-year-olds had not yet mastered this target structure, the maximum score being
77% (Paradis et al., 2005/2006). This result is consistent with the prediction of both
theoretical accounts that French-speaking children with SLI would have difficulties
with object clitics, and show delay in their acquisition. Furthermore, we reported
that both bilingual groups produced object pronouns in English significantly more
often in context than object clitics in French; in fact, their scores for English were at
ceiling (Paradis et al., 2005/2006). This finding confirms that the difficulty of direct
object pronominals is specific to the morpheme marking this semantic–pragmatic
construct in French, and not to object ponominalization as a semantic–pragmatic
construct in general.
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
560
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
Turning to results that differentiate the theories, we found that the bilingual
children with SLI used object clitics to the same extent in context as the younger
TD bilinguals, but significantly more often than the monolingual children with
SLI (Paradis et al., 2005/2006). Even though the bilingual children were not
equivalent to the monolingual children with SLI, crucially, they were not worse.
In other words, their superior performance with these difficult target morphemes
is evidence that they were not lagging behind monolinguals because of the burden
of having to learn two languages at once. This result is more consistent with the
predictions of the representational than processing account of SLI. In addition,
our analyses comparing French clitics and articles in this study showed that the
predictions of the representational account were also borne out over those of the
processing account. We found that for both bilingual groups and the monolinguals
with SLI, production of articles in context was significantly higher than production
of their homophonous counterparts, direct object clitics, in context. Finally, both
bilingual groups showed the same inter- and intralinguistic patterns with object
clitics, pronouns, and articles, signaling that impaired bilingual development does
not result in deviant patterns from TD bilingual development.
THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS
Paradis et al. (2000, 2003, 2005/2006) found that bilinguals with SLI could acquire
grammatical morphology with the same rates and patterns as monolinguals with
SLI. For example, nontense morphemes were acquired before tense morphemes,
and articles before object clitics by both groups, and levels of accuracy with each
morpheme group or individual morpheme examined were similar for affected
children the same age, whether they were bilingual or monolingual, or in the case
of object clitics, accuracy was superior for the bilinguals. Future research is needed
to understand whether these parallels extend into other linguistic domains, such
as the lexicon, and whether bilingual/monolingual similarities among affected
children are also apparent at younger ages.
Regarding the theoretical debate on the nature of SLI, these findings are more
consistent with the predictions of the representational than the processing account
regarding acquisition patterns with grammatical morphology. Affected bilinguals
were not slower than monolinguals to acquire the target structures in spite of
having reduced input to each language. Both bilinguals and monolinguals with
SLI displayed the uneven profile or clinical marker pattern of development with
tense morphology in both languages, and with object clitics in French. This uneven
profile is not explainable by differential perceptual salience of the morphemes.
In sum, the implacability of the clinical marker pattern in the face of diver-
sity in acquisition context and input factors strongly suggests that what makes a
morpheme difficult to acquire is internal to the linguistic domain. Thus, bilingual
children, who embody such diversity, can provide valuable insights regarding
theories conceived for monolingual populations.
APPLIED IMPLICATIONS
The research I have conducted with my colleagues suggests that children af-
fected with a language-learning disability can be raised bilingual without serious
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
561
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
detriment to their grammatical development. These results call into question the
common sense notion that bilingualism would exacerbate the linguistic difficulties
already exhibited by children with SLI. Therefore, professional practices such as
advising parents to give up speaking one of the two languages to a child with
SLI do not find empirical support from these studies. However, it is important
to keep in mind that the children in these studies resided in either the Montr
´
eal
area or along the border between the provinces of Qu
´
ebec and Ontario. Thus,
they had the benefit of growing up from birth with full bilingualism in the home,
extensive bilingualism in the community and at school, in a country where French
and English are official languages. As such, they had advantages in supporting
their bilingualism that other bilingual children might not have.
Most bilingual children in Canada, the United States, and Western Europe
are sequential bilinguals who speak their first language (L1) at home and learn
their second language (L2) through schooling. Among sequential bilinguals, two
types can be distinguished: those whose L1 is a minority language and who
learn the majority L2 at school and in the community outside their homes, and
those whose L1 is the majority language and who learn their L2 through elective,
immersion programs at school (Genesee et al., 2004). A typical example of the
former type would be immigrant children. For these children, bilingualism is
typically a necessity, not a choice, because their parents often have limited or
no fluency in the majority L2. Thus, for many immigrant children who present
with symptoms of a language learning disability, advice such as switching to one
language would not be applicable, regardless of whether it would be the best
practice or not. However, many other questions might arise from this situation
in the mind of a clinician. For example, would a sequential bilingual child show
the same acquisition patterns in the L2 as monolinguals with SLI who speak that
language? Would they be expected to “catch up” to their monolingual peers with
SLI in the target language? Elsewhere, we examined the grammatical development
of two Chinese L1–English L2 children with SLI over time, compared with that of
Chinese L1 TD children learning English, as well as English monolinguals with
SLI (Paradis, Golberg, & Crago, 2005; Paradis, 2007). These two case studies
suggest that the nontense before tense morpheme pattern holds in English SLI,
even when English is the L2. In addition, these two children achieved abilities with
the use of tense marking morphemes similar to those of monolingual children with
SLI the same age after just 3 years of exposure, indicating that sequential bilinguals
with SLI can catch up to their monolingual peers with SLI.
The second group of sequential bilinguals raises more issues regarding edu-
cational and linguistic choices for children with language learning disabilities.
Consider the case of French immersion where English-speaking children receive
their instruction at school through their L2 alongside other English-speaking class-
mates. It would be important for parents, teachers, and educational policy makers to
understand if a child with language learning disabilities would be an appropriate
candidate for such a program. Bruck (1982) examined the scholastic outcomes
of children with language learning disabilities in French immersion and found
they did not perform well, but performed at a similar level as counterparts with
the same disability in English-only schools. However, Bruck’s (1982) study did
not investigate the children’s oral linguistic abilities in their French L2. Crago,
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
562
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
B
´
elanger, and Paradis (2005) presented preliminary data from an ongoing study
examining the oral French skills of English-speaking children with SLI in French
immersion programs in Montr
´
eal. Our results showed that the definite article
before object clitic pattern obtained in French L2 with SLI, as it does in French L1
with SLI. Conversely, these children were acquiring French very slowly, possibly
more slowly that the immigrant Chinese L1 children learning English we men-
tioned above, which invites the question of whether the amount of input in French
immersion is sufficient for children with SLI to become bilingual in a reasonable
amount of time. Much more research with larger sample sizes is needed to better
understand the consequences of both types of sequential bilingualism for children
with SLI.
CONCLUSION
The research discussed in this article reveals both vulnerable and resistant prop-
erties of language acquisition under conditions of impairment. On the one hand,
impaired acquisition is vulnerable in the face of certain grammatical features, and
selective deficits in affected children’s performance with the morphemes marking
these features can be quite pronounced. On the other hand, impaired language
acquisition is resistant in the face of dual language learning from birth. The vul-
nerable properties of children’s acquisition under conditions of impairment should
not override recognition of the resistant properties their acquisition capacity also
exhibits.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The research presented in this article was begun during my postdoctoral fellowship with
Martha Crago at McGill University in 1998, a fruitful research collaboration that is still
ongoing. I acknowledge the important contributions of the other coauthors of the studies that
form the base for this article: Fred Genesee and Mabel Rice. This research has been funded
by the Sick Children’s Hospital Foundation (External Grant XG099-005 to Martha Crago
and Johanne Paradis), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
(Postdoctoral Fellowship 756-97-0025 to Johanne Paradis; Standard Research Grant 410-
98-0281 to Martha Crago), and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research
(Population Health Investigator Award to Johanne Paradis), for which I am grateful.
NOTE
1. Even though the predictions being tested come from particular accounts within
the broad categories of cognitive–perceptual processing approaches and linguistic
representational approaches, namely, the generalized slowing hypothesis, surface hy-
pothesis, and disruption within delay, the terms “processing account” and “represen-
tational account” are used for the sake of brevity.
REFERENCES
Bedore, L., & Leonard, L. (1998). Specific language impairment and grammatical morphology: A
discriminant function analysis. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 41, 1185–
1192.
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
563
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
Belletti, A. (1999). Italian/romance clitics: Structure and derivation. In H. van Reimsdijk (Ed.), Clitics
in the languages of Europe (pp. 543–579). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Bialystok, E. (2001). Bilingualism in development: Language, literacy and cognition. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Brown, R. (1973). A first language: The early stages. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bruck, M. (1982). Language impaired children’s performance in an additive bilingual education
program. Applied Psycholinguistics, 3, 45–60.
Cardinaletti, A., & Starke, M. (1999). The typology of structural deficiency: A case study of the
three classes of pronouns. In H. van Riemsdijk (Ed.), Clitics in the languages of Europe,
(pp.145–290). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Chillier, L., Arabatzi, M., Baranzini, L., Cronel-Ohayon, S., Deonna, T., Dub
´
e, S., et al. (2001).
The acquisition of French pronouns in normal children and in children with specific language
impairment. Paper presented at the Early Lexicon Acquisition Conference, Lyon, France.
Clark, E. (1985). The acquisition of romance, with special reference to French. In
D. Slobin, (Ed.), The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition: Vol. 1. The data. Hillsdale,
NJ: Erlbaum.
Clahsen, H., Bartke, S., & G
¨
ollner, S. (1997). Formal features in impaired grammars: A comparison
of English and German SLI children. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 10, 151–171.
Crago, M., B
´
elanger, C., & Paradis, J. (2005). Object clitic acquisition by second language learners
of Quebec French: Comparisons of children with typical development and with SLI. Paper
presented at the European Child Language Impairment Workshop (EUCLIDES), Royaumont,
France.
de Villiers, J., & de Villiers, P. (1973). A cross-sectional study of the acquisition of grammatical
morphemes in child speech. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 2, 267–278.
Ellis Weismer, S., Evans, J., & Hesketh, L. (1999). An examination of verbal working memory
capacity in children with SLI. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 42,
1249–1260.
Genesee, F., Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2004). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook
on bilingualism and second language learning. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Granfeldt, J., & Schlyter, S. (2004). Cliticisation in the acquisition of French as L1 and L2. In P.
Pr
´
evost & J. Paradis (Eds.), The acquisition of French in different contexts: Focus on functional
categories (pp. 333–370). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Gr
¨
uter, T. (2005). Teasing apart L2 and SLI. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26, 363–391.
Hakuta, K. (1986). Mirror of language: The debate on bilingualism. New York: Basic Books.
Hamann, C., Rizzi, L., & Frauenfelder, U. (1996). On the acquisition of subject and object clitics in
French. In H. Clahsen (Ed.), Generative perspectives on language acquisition (pp. 309–334).
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Jakubowicz, C., & Nash, L. (2001). Functional categories and syntactic operations in (Ab)normal
language acquisition. Brain and Language, 77, 321–339.
Jakubowicz, C., Nash, L., Rigaut, C., & G
´
erard, Ch.-L. (1998). Determiners and citic pronouns in
French-speaking children with SLI. Language Acquisition, 7, 113–160.
Jakubowicz, C., & Rigaut, C. (2000). L’acquisition des clitiques nominatifs et des clitiques objets en
franc¸ais [The acquisition of nominative and object clitics in French]. The Canadian Journal of
Linguistics, 45, 119–158.
Ju
´
arez, M. (1983). Assessment and treatment of minority-language-handicapped children: The role of
the monolingual speech-language pathologist. Topics in Language Disorders, 3, 57–65.
Kayne, R. (1975).
French syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kohnert, K., Yim, D., Nett, K., Kan, P.-F., & Duran, L. (2005). Intervention with linguistically diverse
preschool children: A focus on developing home language(s). Language, Speech and Hearing
Services in Schools, 36, 251–263.
Kohnert, K., & Windsor, J. (2004). The search for common ground: Part II. Nonlinguistic performance
by linguistically diverse learners. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 47,
891–903.
Leonard, L. (1998). Children with specific language impairment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Leonard, L., Bortolini, U., Caselli, M.-C., McGregor, K., & Sabbadini, L. (1992). Morphological
deficits in children with specific language impairment: The status of features in the underlying
grammar. Language Acquisition, 2, 151–179.
APS aps-07-030 April 17, 2007 21:59
Applied Psycholinguistics 28:3
564
Paradis: Bilingual children with SLI
Leonard, L., & Eyer, J. (1996). Deficits of grammatical morphology in children with specific language
impairment and their implications for notions of bootstrapping. In J.-L. Morgan & K. Demuth
(Eds.), Signal to syntax (pp. 233–248). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Leonard, L., Eyer, J., Bedore, L., & Grela, B. (1997). Three accounts of the grammatical morpheme
difficulties of English-speaking children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech,
Language and Hearing Research, 40, 741–753.
Miller, C., Kail, R., Leonard, L., & Tomblin, B. (2001). Speed of processing in children with specific
language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 44, 416–433.
Paradis, J. (2004). On the relevance of specific language impairment to understanding the role of
transfer in second language acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 67–82.
Paradis, J. (2007). Tense as a clinical marker in child L2 English: Comparing English language learners
with and without SLI. In E. Gavruseva & B. Haznedar (Eds.), Current trends in child second
language acquisition: A generative perspective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2001). The morphosyntax of specific language impairment in French:
Evidence for an Extended Optional Default account. Language Acquisition, 9, 269–300.
Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2004). Comparing L2 and SLI grammars in French: Focus on DP. In
P. P r
´
evost & J. Paradis (Eds.), The acquisition of French in different contexts: Focus on
functional categories (pp. 89–108). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Paradis, J., Crago, M., & Genesee, F. (2005/2006). Domain-specific versus domain-general theories of
the deficit in SLI: Object pronoun acquisition by French–English bilingual children. Language
Acquisition, 13/14, 33–62.
Paradis, J., Crago, M, Genesee, F., & Rice, M. (2000). Dual language impairment: Evidence from
French–English bilingual children with SLI. Paper presented at the Boston University Confer-
ence on Language Development, Boston.
Paradis, J., Crago, M., Genesee, F., & Rice, M. (2003). Bilingual children with specific language
impairment: How do they compare with their monolingual peers? Journal of Speech, Language
and Hearing Research, 46, 1–15.
Paradis, J., Goldberg, H., & Crago, M. (2005). Distinguishing between typically-developing L2 children
and L2 children with SLI: Verb diversity and tense morphology over time. Poster presented at
the 5th International Symposium on Bilingualism, Barcelona.
Rice, M. (2003). A unified model of specific and general language delay: Grammatical tense as a clinical
marker of unexpected variation. In Y. Levy & J. Schaeffer (Eds.), Language competence across
populations: Towards a definition of specific language impairment (pp. 63–94). Mahwah, NJ:
Erlbaum.
Rice, M. (2004). Language growth of children with SLI and unaffected children: Timing mecha-
nisms and linguistic distinctions. In A. Brugos, L. Micciulla, & C. Smith (Eds.), BUCLD 28
Proceedings. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Rice, M., & Wexler, K. (1996). Toward tense as a clinical marker of specific language impairment
in English-speaking children. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 39, 1236–
1257.
Rice, M., & Wexler, K. (2001). Test of Early Grammatical Impairment. New York: The Psychological
Corporation.
Rice, M., Wexler, K., & Hershberger, S. (1998). Tense over time: The longitudinal course of tense
acquisition in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language and
Hearing Research, 41, 1412–1431.
Roseberry-McKibbin, C. (1995). Distinguishing language differences. Multicultural Education, 4,
12–16.
Van Der Lely, H. (2003). Do heterogenous deficits require heterogeneous theories? SLI subgroups
and the RDDR hypothesis. In Y. Levy & J. Schaeffer (Eds.), Language competence across
populations: Towards a definition of specific language impairment. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Westernoff, F. (1991). The assessment of communication disorders in second language learners.
Journal of Speech–Language Pathologist Association, 15, 73–79.
Wexler, K. (2003). Lennenberg’s dream: Learning, normal language development, and specific lan-
guage impairment. In Y. Levy & J. Schaeffer (Eds.), Language competence across populations.
Towards a definition of specific language impairment (pp. 11–62). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
... In two studies, the Bi-DLD even outperformed the Mo-DLD (dos Santos and Ferré 2016;Ferré et al. 2015) 1 . These findings are consistent with the assumption that there are no cumulative negative effects of multilingualism and DLD (Paradis 2005(Paradis , 2007Armon-Lotem et al. 2015). Comparing the two parts, the effects are almost always stronger in the language-dependent than in the language-independent part (Somberg 2020; Grimm and Hübner forthcoming; Grimm and Schulz 2021;Abed Ibrahim and Fekete 2019;Scherger 2020;dos Santos and Ferré 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study evaluates whether the short version of the German LITMUS quasi-universal nonword repetition task (LITMUS-QU-NWR) can be used as an index test for monolingual and early second language learners (eL2) of German aged 8 to 10 years. The NWR taps into quasi-universal phonological knowledge via the so-called language-independent part and into language-specific phonological knowledge via the language-dependent part. Thirty-six monolingual and thirty-three eL2 learners of German, typically developing (TD) and diagnosed as language-impaired (DLD), participated in the study. The effects of the language group (Mo vs. eL2) and the clinical status (TD vs. DLD) on repetition accuracy are investigated by a logistic mixed-model analysis. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) and likelihood ratios are calculated to determine the diagnostic accuracy of the two parts. The group comparisons showed significant effects of the clinical status but not of the language group. The ROC analyses and the likelihood ratios reveal better diagnostic values for the language-dependent compared to the language-independent part and almost similar diagnostic values for the monolingual and the eL2 group. The results indicate that the LITMUS-QU-NWR helps to disentangle DLD and DLD in monolingual children and eL2 learners aged 8 to 10 years.
... Die Anzahl der Kinder in Deutschland, die mit mehr als einer Sprache aufwachsen, hat in den letzten Jahr(zehnt)en stark zugenommen. Bei diesen Kindern liegt mit derselben Wahrscheinlichkeit eine Sprachentwicklungsstörung (SES) vor wie bei einsprachigen Kindern -es gibt keine Befunde, die einen Zusammenhang zwischen dem Vorliegen einer Mehrsprachigkeit und einer SES nahelegen, wie früher angenommen (Kannengieser, 2015;Paradis, 2007;Scharff Rethfeldt, 2013). Eine SES tritt bei einem Anteil von sieben bis acht Prozent aller Kinder auf (Norbury et al., 2016;Tomblin et al., 1997). ...
Article
Full-text available
Self-perceived competence when diagnosing developmental language disorder in multilingual children Zusammenfassung: SprachtherapeutInnen haben in früheren Studien von ihrer Unsicherheit berichtet, bei mehrsprachigen Kindern klar zwischen einer Sprachentwicklungsstörung und einem Sprachförderbedarf trennen zu können. Sie haben deshalb den Wunsch geäußert, in diesem Bereich zu einem vertieften Wissen zu gelangen. Die folgende Studie untersucht, ob sich das diesbezügliche Lehrangebot an Hoch- und Berufsfachschulen in den letzten zehn Jahren in dieser Hinsicht erweitert und sich (gegebenenfalls daraus folgend) das Kompetenzempfinden der TherapeutInnen in den letzten zehn Jahren verändert hat. Im Rahmen einer Fragebogenstudie wurden Daten zu möglichen Einflussgrößen wie ‚Berufserfahrung', ‚Ausbildungsinhalte zum Thema Mehrsprachigkeit', ‚Mehrsprachigkeit von Kindern und TherapeutInnen', ‚Kenntnisse und Kompetenzempfinden bei der Sprachentwicklungsdiagnostik mehrsprachiger PatientInnen' sowie ‚Erfahrung im Umgang mit entsprechendem Testmaterial' erhoben. An der Studie nahmen 192 SprachtherapeutInnen teil. Die Ergebnisse deuten darauf hin, dass in den letzten Jahren mehr Veranstaltungen zum Thema ‚Mehrsprachigkeit' angeboten und besucht wurden. Die TherapeutInnen äußern aber weiterhin im Einklang mit weiteren Befragungsstudien eine fortbestehende Unzufriedenheit mit den zur Verfügung stehenden Testmaterialien für die Diagnostik bei mehrsprachigen Kindern. Darüber hinaus zeigte sich, dass sich ProbandInnen mit mehr Berufserfahrung kompetenter in der Diagnostik mehrsprachiger Kinder fühlen als TherapeutInnen mit weniger Berufserfahrung. Dass sich insgesamt keine größeren Veränderungen im Vergleich zu früheren Studien-ergebnissen feststellen ließen, lässt vermuten, dass die Anzahl besuchter Lehrveranstaltungen einen eher geringen Einfluss auf das Kompetenzempfinden nimmt. Es muss weiter untersucht werden, welche Maßnahmen sich positiv auf die empfundene Kompetenz bei der Diagnostik mehrsprachiger Kinder auswirken können. Abstract: In previous studies, speech and language therapists have often reported insecurity about their ability to clearly distinguish between developmental language disorders and a need for language support in multilingual children. Therefore, they expressed the wish to acquire more in-depth knowledge in this area. This study examines whether the range of courses offered at universities and professional schools has expanded in the last ten years and whether this and/ or other factors have an impact on the self-perceived competence of therapists. In an online questionnaire, we collected data on potential influencing factors such as professional experience, participation in courses on multilingualism, multilingualism of children and therapists, knowledge and self-perceived competence in diagnosing multilingual children, as well as the experience in using relevant test material. 192 speech and language therapists took part in this study. Participants who graduated more recently (i.e., in the last ten years) reported to have attended more courses on multilingualism. However, in line with previous research, participants still report dissatisfaction with the available diagnostic tools for multilingual children. Moreover, it was found that participants with more professional experience (more than ten years) feel more competent in diagnosing multilingual children compared to therapists who graduated more recently and who have less professional experience. The fact that no major changes were found overall compared to previous study results suggests that the number of courses attended has a rather small influence on the perception of competence. Further research is needed to determine which measures can have a positive impact on perceived competence in diagnosing multilingual children.
... Syllable Deletion: An unstressed or weak syllable in a word is deleted. Examples "nana" for banana; "tato" for potato Final Consonant Deletion: This is the deletion of the final consonant of a word. Examples: [kae]for Not enough works have been done across the world on Children's Phonology especially among English Second Language Learners (ESLLs).(Paradis, 2007) noted that there is the need to start looking into this seldom studied subfield of phonology which has its own issues and questions distinct from adult L2 acquisition. There are many works on syntactic and phonological features among adult Nigerian ESL. However, there has been no comprehensive studies on phonology among Nigerian ESL and ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The thesis entitled Practicability of Universal Grammar (UG): A Study of the Phonological Processes of 3-5 Year Old ESL and EFL Preschoolers of Ado-Odo Ota Community centers on the acquisition of English phonology among Ado-Odo Ota preschoolers. It was intended to unearth the patterns of deviations typical of children, however, in the Nigerian ESL community context, the frequency of the phonological processes across the age and variable groups and its significance to Universal Grammar. To achieve this end, I attempted a mixed approach of qualitative and quantitative methodical measures. The qualitative allows me to describe the phenomenon observed and the quantitative makes room for measurement of significance of how the variables relate to one another. The findings are that the Yoruba Nigerian ESL and EFL children exhibit similar phonological deviations as other children of the world as described in the literatures reviewed; that the EFL Nigerian children possess fewer phonological errors than their ESL counterparts; that the predominant deviations among the children are traceable to accent; that phonological errors decline as age increases, and that environment plus the LAD accounts for the phonological system of children.
... For example, non-finite verbs in V2 in German, which have been suggested as a marker for monolingual SLI (e.g., Clahsen, 1991), have not been found in eL2 SLI children (Schulz & Schwarze, 2017). In a different vein, omission of object clitics in French and Greek suggested as a morpho-syntactic marker of SLI in monolingual children (e.g., Paradis, Crago, & Genesee, 2003;Tsimpli, Peristeri, & Andreou, 2017) has also been attested in eL2 TD children (e.g., Paradis, 2007) and cannot function as marker of SLI in bilingual children. Apart from the domain morpho-syntax, lexical and narrative abilities have been shown to be affected in bilingual children with SLI, but not in their TD peers; for example, regarding lexical retrieval (Degani, Kreiser, & Novogrodsky, 2019) and narrative structure (Tsimpli, Peristeri, & Andreou, 2016). ...
Chapter
The aim of this study is to investigate phonology (via consonant clusters) and sentential semantics (via exhaustivity in wh-questions) regarding their potential to characterize SLI in the context of bilingual acquisition. Using the German LITMUS-QU-NWR task and the exhaustivity task, the phonological and semantic abilities of 5- to 6-year-old simultaneous-bilingual (2L1) and early second language (eL2) learners of German with SLI were compared to their typically developing peers. The results suggest that in this age group language-dependent phonological knowledge regarding consonant clusters is a marker of SLI for 2L1 and eL2 children, while language independent knowledge of consonant clusters is a marker of SLI only for eL2 children. At age 5 to 6, exhaustivity is not a marker of SLI in either bilingual group. Consistent with the notion of subtypes of SLI, individual analyses revealed considerable heterogeneity within the two SLI groups. We argue that characterization of bilingual SLI requires analyses of group and individual data, and moreover, consideration of the age at testing in relation to timing in monolingual acquisition. The COST-tasks are suitable for combining both approaches.
... U praksi takvu djecu roditelji, učitelji, a i stručnjaci često ne smatraju dobrim kandidatima za usvajanje (ili učenje) dvaju ili više jezika, što nerijetko rezultira savjetovanjem roditelja o prebacivanju svih interakcija na jedan (najčešće drugi) jezik, vodeći se logikom da će dijete postići veći napredak budu li njegovi napori usmjereni jednom, umjesto dvama ili više jezika. Ipak, rezultati istraživanja (Paradis, 2003, 2005/2006, 2007, Windsor i sur., 2009prema Kohnert, 2010, Gutiérrez-Clellen i sur., 2008) pokazuju kako ne postoje značajne razlike u obilježjima RJP-a kod jednojezične i dvojezične djece. Stoga, izloženost drugom jeziku ni na koji način ne šteti jezičnom razvoju dvojezične djece s RJP-om, štoviše, može imati i neke pozitivne učinke. ...
Article
Globalizacija i sve učestalije migracije u posljednjih nekoliko desetljeća pridonijeli su rastu specifične kliničke populacije unutar logopedije. Riječ je o dvojezičnim korisnicima logopedskih usluga koji su, zbog svojih specifičnosti, izazov kliničarima u procjeni, planiranju terapije i savjetovanju obitelji dvojezičnih govornika. Cilj je ove teme bolji uvid u logopedski rad, u kontekstu dvojezičnosti i jezičnih teškoća u Republici Hrvatskoj. Zanimalo nas je kolika je zastupljenost dvojezičnih govornika s kojima se logopedi u svom radu susreću, koje tehnike i mjere logopedi upotrebljavaju pri procjeni jezičnoga statusa dvojezičnih govornika, te koje su potrebe vezane za unapređenje logopedskoga rada u kontekstu dvojezičnosti. Elektroničkim upitnikom prikupljeni su odgovori stotinu logopeda iz Republike Hrvatske. Rezultati istraživanja pokazuju da je rad u kontekstu dvojezičnosti vrlo aktualan. Unatoč učestalosti susreta s dvojezičnim govornicima, vrlo nizak postotak sudionika izvještava o stjecanju znanja o važnim temama za rad u kontekstu dvojezičnosti - poput znanja o sredstvima za procjenu dvojezičnih govornika ili znanja o ulozi prevoditelja. To se odrazilo i na praksu logopeda: vrlo nizak postotak logopeda potvrđuje praksu procjene obaju jezika dvojezičnih govornika, kao i pomoć prevoditelja. Najčešće primjenjivane mjere procjene kombinacija su formalnih i neformalnih mjera, te standardizirana procjena hrvatskog jezika. Rezultati ovog istraživanja uvid su u potrebe za unapređenje obrazovanja logopeda, što je preduvjet planiranja intervencije osnaživanja struke za rad u kontekstu dvojezičnosti.
Chapter
Research has shown that among the challenges children face in an increasingly global and multilingual society, language development is the most common one in early childhood education and care (ECEC). In Finland, the current national core curriculum for ECEC has introduced different bilingual education models. This article focuses on the participation of children with language challenges in different ECEC contexts where Swedish is the main medium of instruction. This study examines three settings: conventional education, large-scale bilingual education and small-scale bilingual education. The data form part of a larger survey and are analysed using a mixed methods approach. According to the findings, the percentages of children who need support for language challenges differ between the different settings. Various methods for supporting children’s language are used. Books are used the most in conventional settings, whereas specific language activities and signs as support are used the most in small-scale bilingual education settings. Teachers’ knowledge about challenges within monolingual or bilingual children’s language development is necessary for correctly directed support.
Article
Purpose This study examines the written language samples of fifth grade English learner (EL) students with and without diagnosed language-based learning disabilities (LLDs) in an effort to explore the utility of such supplemental materials for aiding in differential diagnosis of ELs with and without LLDs. Method This sample of 127 fifth grade students consisted of ELs without identified disabilities ( n = 89) and ELs diagnosed with LLDs ( n = 38). Written language samples from a classroom-based expository writing task were coded for grammaticality and specific verb type of errors. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) between the groups that differed by language abilities was conducted at two time points to compare the frequency of errors and the average change in grammaticality from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year. Results EL students with and without LLDs performed similarly at the beginning of the school year. ELs without LLDs showed greater average change in accuracy across the school year. Significantly, higher proportions of verb tense and verb omission errors were demonstrated by ELs with LLDs when compared with their EL peers at the end of the school year. Overall grammatical accuracy was also lower for ELs with LLDs. Conclusions Group differences at the end of the school year were confirmed in types and rate of verb errors. Results support the potential clinical utility of monitoring verb errors in writing samples over time as a supplemental tool in diagnostic evaluations and assessments for progress monitoring.
Conference Paper
Assessing children with Specific language Impairment (SLI) in multilingual contexts is challenging for speech language therapists given that language patterns in bilinguals and in children with SLI are often reported to be remarkably similar and that screening language tests are not standardized on bilingual populations. The present study aims to validate the use of a parental questionnaire focusing on early language development, the languages spoken by the child, the use of languages in his/her environment, and information on linguistic difficulties within the family, as a complement to language assessment in multilingual contexts. Thirty-three Lebanese/French bilingual children (12 with SLI and 21 with typical development) and their parents participated in this study in Lebanon. The parents were interviewed via the questionnaire while the children were administered standardized language tests in each language. Data analysis showed that the parents' answers to the questionnaire were coherent throughout and that some variables of the questionnaire strongly discriminated between the two groups of children, in particular the age of the first words and first sentences. Moreover, although significant correlations were found with language test scores, the answers to the questionnaire allowed us to refine the interpretation of the performance on the standardized tests, thus demonstrating the value of the parental questionnaire as a complementary tool to clinical evaluation.
Conference Paper
This work is about the fact that using new technologies, and in particular Natural Language Processing techniques with implementations of Machine Learning models, humanity can be ready to save the souls of people. With the development of the Internet and its accessibility, young people devote more and more time to social networks. It is often easier for them to write about their mood online than to talk about their problem with specialists. By analyzing posts on social networks, the nature of the topic, the manner of writing and other details, it can draw many ideas about a person’s mood, predict his or her subsequent actions and prevent a possible crime. Kazakhstan ranks third in terms of the number of suicides in the world. To prevent suicide, it was decided to use sentiment analysis as a technique in Natural Language Processing to identify the positive or negative implication. In order to create a database, it is necessary to collect data from social networks popular in Kazakhstan. The main goal of the work is to combine NLP and ML techniques to build suitable models to get the needed information.
Article
Purpose Language modality choices for deaf children continue to be an area of debate, but we argue that the dichotomy of “either/or” for language modality is outdated in a world that increasingly values bilingualism. Evidence is provided that a bilingual approach to language for deaf children is not contraindicated and that deaf children can learn both spoken and signed language given an adequate amount of exposure to each language. Conclusions We note that exposure to signed language during the early phases of auditory evaluation and rehabilitation can reduce missed opportunities for language acquisition. We further suggest that professionals who work with these children and their families need to consider their own biases in how language modality choices are presented in order to provide the best possible support services.
Article
This article presents and discusses data on nominative and object clitics used by twelve monolingual French-speaking children aged 2;0 to 2;7 years in a spontaneous interaction setting and in an elicited production task. It is shown that nominative clitics surpass object clitics, and that reflexive clitics fare better than accusative clitics. It is argued that these two dissociations are compatible with the computational complexity hypothesis put forth by Jakubowicz and Nash (to appear), applied to the analysis of third person Romance pronominal clitics proposed by Jakubowicz, Nash, Rigaut, and Gérard (1998).