The assessment of language impairment in bilingual children through learning and memory tasks

Sungmi Hong, Dongsun Yim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study is to identify which measurement tasks best discriminate bilingual children who have language impairment from typical bilingual ones. Methods: Forty Korean-English bilingual children who were between 5 to 7 years old participated in the study. Tasks used in the study were standardized vocabulary tests, the parental report, the tasks of learning ability (Quick Incidental Learning of Words, Novel Bound-Morpheme Generalization), the tasks of memory ability (working memory test, short-term memory test). The study conducted two-way ANOVA to examine the group difference on language ability, learning ability, and memory ability and used partial correlations to analyze the data. Results: The results of the study were first, bilingual children with language impairment were statistically lower on all language tests, learning and memory tasks compared to typically developing children. Second, typical bilingual children showed statistically significant positive correlation between language ability and working memory ability, yet bilingual children with language impairment showed a significant correlation between short-term memory and language ability. Conclusion: Results indicated that it is important to assess both children's mother tongue and the second language, learning and memory ability, and reports of parents in order to measure the language ability of bilingual children. The study results can be used for identifying language impairment in bilingual children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
JournalCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ewha Womans University Research Grant of 2010.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.


  • Korean-English bilingual children
  • Language impairment
  • Language task
  • Learning task
  • Memory task


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