The number of children speaking more than one language as well as the number of languages spoken in Ireland has increased significantly posing a problem for timely identification of children with language disorder. The current study aims to profile performance of monolingual and multilingual children on language processing tasks: non-word repetition (NWR) and sentence repetition (SR). We used: (1) Crosslinguistic (CL) and English Language-Specific (LS) NWR and (2) SR in English, Polish and Russian. Children’s socioeconomic status, language emergence, the age of exposure (AoE) to English and the percentage of English spoken at home were recorded. The study included 88 children age 5–8 attending a school in a disadvantaged area. CL and LS NWR yielded similar distribution of scores for monolinguals and multilinguals. The tasks identified small number of children who performed significantly lower than the mean while there were no significant differences between the groups. In English SR, monolinguals significantly outperformed multilinguals. Comparison of SR in English and Polish/Russian indicated that some children showed balanced performance in both of their languages while others showed marked differences performing better in either Polish/Russian or English depending on their AoE to English and percentage of English spoken at home. The pilot study suggests that CL-NWR is a promising screening tool for identifying monolingual and multilingual children with language disorder while SR provides more detailed information on children’s language performance relative to their language exposure. SR task is recommended to be used only if comparable tasks are available in all of children’s languages.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics|
|State||Published - 2 Apr 2020|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
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- Language assessment
- repetition tasks