November 25, 2011

Multilingual speech and language development and disorders: New book

Today I received my copy of Communication Disorders in Multicultural and International Populations edited by Dolores Battle. I was invited to co-author a chapter with my colleague Helen Grech, from Malta. Here is the reference: Grech, H. & McLeod, S. (2012). Multilingual speech and language development and disorders. In D. Battle (Ed). Communication disorders in multicultural and international populations (4th ed) (pp. 120-147). St Louis, MI: Elsevier.

At the beginning of the chapter we defined multilingualism: "...a person who is multilingual is able to comprehend and/or produce two or more languages in oral and/or written form regardless of the level of proficiency, use, and the age the languages were learned." (p. 121).

We also described the complexity of defining multilingualism: "Parameters that characterize definitions of multilingualism include:
a) the number of languages known (e.g., bilingual, trilingual, polyglot, semilingual)
b) the age and timing of the acquisition of each language (e.g., simultaneous or sequential acquisition)
c) proficiency in each language (e.g., minimal skill, functional, proficient in daily life, proficient in all contexts including educational/academic/professional contexts)
d) domains of language knowledge and use (e.g., perception/comprehension vs. production)
e) language output mode (e.g., oral vs. signed vs. written)
f) language(s) spoken within the community (e.g., majority vs. minority languages)"

The appendix includes a comprehensive list of studies of typical and atypical speech and language acquisition by multilingual children.