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A descriptive study of lexical organisation in bilingual children with language impairment: Developmental changes

Journal article
Authors Ketty Holmström
Eva Kristina Salameh
Ulrika Nettelbladt
Annika Dahlgren Sandberg
Published in International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Volume 18
Issue 2
Pages 178-189
ISSN 1754-9515
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 178-189
Language en
Keywords Bilingualism, lexicon, primary language impairment
Subject categories Psychology


© 2015 The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited Published by Taylor & Francis. Purpose: This study aimed to describe the development of Arabic and Swedish lexical organisation in bilingual children with language impairment (BLI).Method: Lexical organisation was assessed through word associations in 10 BLI and 10 bilingual children with typical development (BTD), aged 6;2-8;0 years, matched for age and gender. The participants were assessed twice, with a 1-year interval. Word associations were coded as paradigmatic, syntagmatic, phonological, other and no answer. This study reports analyses of the semantically-related syntagmatic and paradigmatic associations. Using repeated measures ANOVA, main and interaction effects of Group, Time and Language were examined for paradigmatic and syntagmatic associations separately.Result: The interaction between Group and Time was significant for both associations. The BLI group increased syntagmatic associations from time 1 to time 2, while the BTD group increased paradigmatic associations. Results showed a significant main effect of Language for both types of associations, with better performance in Swedish. Significant Group by Language interactions resulted from lower Arabic than Swedish syntagmatic and paradigmatic scores for the BLI and BTD groups, respectively.Conclusion: Differing developmental trajectories indicate that bilingual children with LI develop lexical organisation at a slower pace than bilingual peers with typical language development.

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