Responses to query on speech delays in multilingual environments

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Apr 5 14:09:48 UTC 2007

Regarding Query:

Once more, I would like to thank all of you who took time to respond to my
inquiry. THANK YOU!!! I appreciate your time, kindness, and advice.  At
submitting my inquiry I hoped for one or two responses. At the end I
received a lot more than expected. I compiled the suggested reference into
a single list (some are still with web links, and some helpful remarks).
It is a very impressive literature list. I hope it will help other people
who are interested in the similar problem.

 To summarize the research:

There are two schools of thought. The older one argues that the
multilingual environment may cause speech delay in young children. The
newer one refutes these claims and argues that raising children in
multilingual environment does not cause any speech delays, but in fact,
benefits the child's development. So, if there are young children with
apparent speech delay, it is due to some other factors (but not to
multilingual environment).


Abu-Rabia, S. & L.S. Siegel (2002) Reading, Syntactic, Orthographic, and
Working Memory Skills of Bilingual Arabic-English Speaking Canadian
Children. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 31 (6):  661-678.

Ball, M. J. ( 2005) Clinical Sociolinguistics. Blackwell Publishing
Challenging Case: Cultural and Linguistic Determinants in the Diagnosis
and Management of Development Delay in a Four Year Old. In Developmental
and Behavioral Pediatrics, Vol.23, No.5, October 2002. pp.  371-376

Chandler Yeo, Helen, Susan Rickard Liow & Anthea Frase Gupta. (1994).
Specific language disorders in Singaporean children: four case studies.
Singapore Journal of Education 114:2, pp. 1-10.

Chavda, Usha et al. (2000). Important issues in the Care and Evaluation of
Bilingual /Multilingual Children. International Pediatrics, Vol.18, No.1,
pp 8-13.  ( 03_WEB.pdf)

Child Language Teaching and Therapy (19:3), 1 October 2003:

Mahon M., Crutchley A., Quinn T. New directions in the assessment of
bilingual children pp.  237-243(7)

Martin D., Krishnamurthy R., Bhardwaj M., Charles R. Language change in
young Panjabi/English children: implications for bilingual language
assessment 245-265(21)

Pert S., Letts C. Developing an expressive language assessment for
children in Rochdale with a Pakistani heritage background, pp. 267-289(23)

Seeff-Gabriel B. Phonological processing: a platform for assisting
second-language learners with English spelling, pp. 291-310(20)

Howell P., Davis S., Au-Yeung J. Syntactic development in fluent children,
children who stutter, and children who have English as an additional
language, pp. 311-337(27)

Salameh E-K., Nettelbladt U., Norlin K. Assessing phonologies in bilingual
Swedish-Arabic children with and without language impairment, pp. 338-364

Cruz-Ferreira, Madalena. (2006). Three is a Crowd? Multilingual Matters.

Cummins, J. (2000) Language Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the
Crossfire. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Duncan, D. (1989) Working with Bilingual Language Disability. Chapman and

Feldman (2005). Evaluation and Management of Language and Speech Disorders
in Preschool Children. Pediatrics in Review. 26: 131-142.

Fraser Gupta, Anthea and Helen Chandler. (1993). Pediatric speech and
language therapy referral in Singapore: implications for multilingual
language disability. European Journal of Disorders of Communication 28,
pp.  311-317.

Fraser Gupta, Anthea. (1994). Language disorder -- is monolingualism
necessary? The Bilingual Family Newsletter 11:4.

Genesee, F. (2003) Bilingualism and language impairment. In R.D. Kent
(Ed.) MIT Encyclopedia of Communication Disorders. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 275-278.

Genesee, F., Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2004). Dual Language Development
and Disorders: A Handbook on Bilingualism and Second Language Learning.
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Goldstein, B. (Ed.). (2004).  Bilingual Language Development and Disorders
in Spanish-English Speakers.  Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes

Harris, Margaret. 1992 (1993, 1996). Language experience and early
language development; from input to uptake.  Psychology Press, Sussex.

Hokansson, G., E-K. Salameh & U. Nettelbladt (2003) Measuring Language
Development in Bilingual Children:  Swedish-Arabic Children with and
without Language Impairment. Linguistics 41(2): 255-288

Holm A., Dodd B. (1999) An intervention case study of a bilingual child
with phonological disorder. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 1 June
1999, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 139-158(20) (concerns English-Punjabi)

Hua, Zhu and Barbara Dodd, eds. Phonological development and disorders in
children : a multilingual perspective. Multilingual Matters, 2006.

Jordaan, H., Shaw-Ridley, G., Serfontein, J., & Orelowitz, K. (2001).
Cognitive and liguistic profiles of specific language impairment and
semantic-pragmatic disorder in bilinguals. Folia Phoniatrica et
Logopaedica, 53, 153-165.

Kay-Raining Bird, E., Cleave, P., Trudeau, N., Thordardottir, E., Sutton,
A., & Thorpe, A. (2005). The language abilities of bilingual children with
Down Syndrome. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14, 187-199.

Klee, T et al. (2004)  Utterance Length and Lexical Diversity in
Cantonese-Speaking Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment.

Kohnert, K. et al (2005)  Intervention With Linguistically Diverse
Preschool Children: A Focus on Developing Home Language(s). Language,
Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. 36:3 pp 251-263.

Laing, S. Kahmi, A.(2003) Alternative Assessment of Language and Literacy
in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse population. Language, Speech and
Hearing Services in Schools. Vol 34, pp. 44-55.

Martin, D., Colesby,C. and Jhamat, K. (1997) Phonological awareness in
Panjabi/English children with phonological difficulties.  Child Language
Teaching and Therapy 13,1,59-72

Meisel, J. M. (1989).  Early differentiation of languages in bilingual
children. In K. Hyltenstam and L. K. Obler (Eds.), Bilingualism Across the
Lifespan: Aspects of Acquisition, Maturity, and Loss. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press.

Meisel, J. (2004). The bilingual child. In T.J. Bhatia and Richie (Eds.),
The Handbook of Bilingualism (pp. 91-113). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Ng and Wigglesworth (upcoming). Bilingualism: An advanced resource book.

Paradis, J. (to appear). Bilingual Children with Special Language
Impairment: Theoretical and Aplied Issues. Applied

Paradis, J. (2005) Grammatical Morphology in Children Learning English as
a Second Language: Implications of Similarities With Specific Language
Impairment . Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. 36:3 pp.

Paradis, J. & M. Crago (2000) Tense and temporality: a comparison between
children learning a second language and children with SLI. Journal of
Speech Language and Hearing Research 43: 834847.

Paradis, J., Crago, M., Genesee, F., & Rice, M. (2003). French- English
bilingual children with SLI: How do they compare with their monolingual
peers? Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 113-127.

Paradis, J. & Crago M (in press) Comparing L2 and SLI grammars in child
French: Focus on DP.  In J. Paradis & P. Pr?vost (eds) The Acquisition of
French in Different Contexts: Focus on Functional Categories. Amsterdam:

Ray, J.  (2002) Treating Phonological Disorders in a Multilingual Child: A
Case Study. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Vol 11,
pp.305-315 (concerns English, Hindi, Gujurati)  Restrepo, M. A., & Kruth,
K. (2000).  Grammatical characteristics of a Spanish-English bilingual
child with SLI.  Communication Disorders Quarterly, 21, 66-76.

Salameh et al (2004)  Developmental perspectives on bilingual
Swedish-Arabic children with and without language impairment: a
longitudinal study. IJLCD 39:1

Shriberg et al. (1999) Prevalence of Speech Delay in 6-Year-Old Children
and Comorbidity With Language. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing
Research. 42: 1461-1481

So L.K.H., Leung C-S.S. (2004). A phonological screening tool for
Cantonese-speaking children. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 1
February 2004, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 75-86(12)

Stow, C. and Dodd, B. (2003). Providing an equitable service to bilingual
children in the UK: a review. IJLCD 38:4

Tse, S.K. et al (2005). Is the expressive vocabulary of young Cantonese
speakers noun or verb dominated? Early Child Development and Care, 175:3,
pp. 215-227.

Good luck to all of you. And thank you again for your help, Svitlana


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