Examining Language Loss in Bilingual Children Clinicians who evaluate the language abilities of bilingual children are frequently faced with the challenge of determining linguistic skills in a population where both individual and social forces impact language performance. As bilingualism is both a social and linguistic phenomenon, establishing language impairment in bilingual children encompasses more than ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 1997
Examining Language Loss in Bilingual Children
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Raquel T. Anderson
    Indiana University at Bloomington
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   February 01, 1997
Examining Language Loss in Bilingual Children
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, February 1997, Vol. 3, 2-5. doi:10.1044/cds3.1.2
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, February 1997, Vol. 3, 2-5. doi:10.1044/cds3.1.2
Clinicians who evaluate the language abilities of bilingual children are frequently faced with the challenge of determining linguistic skills in a population where both individual and social forces impact language performance. As bilingualism is both a social and linguistic phenomenon, establishing language impairment in bilingual children encompasses more than analyzing language performance. It also includes carefully studying the sociolinguistic environment of each bilingual child who is referred for assessment. Important in this study is the phenomenon of language loss, where a child’s competence in his/her native language (L1) diminishes while skills in the second language (L2) are not comparable to those of native speakers (Kaufman & Aronoff, 1991; Orellana, 1994; Pfaff, 1991; Schiff-Myers, 1992; Turian & Altenberg, 1991). Thus, speech patterns of children who are in the process of losing productive skills in their native language while they are acquiring the second language may be very similar to those observed in children with true language learning disabilities. The clinician’s task, then, is to discern between a true language disability and the phenomenon of language loss in children in a dual language environment.
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