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Can a novel word repetition task be a language-neutral assessment tool? evidence from Welsh-English bilingual children

Sharp, Kathryn and Gathercole, Virginia C. Mueller 2013. Can a novel word repetition task be a language-neutral assessment tool? evidence from Welsh-English bilingual children. Child Language Teaching and Therapy 29 (1) , pp. 77-89. 10.1177/0265659012465208

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In recent years, there has been growing recognition of a need for a general, non-language-specific assessment tool that could be used to evaluate general speech and language abilities in children, especially to assist in identifying atypical development in bilingual children who speak a language unfamiliar to the assessor. It has been suggested that a non-word repetition task (NWRT) may be a suitable candidate to fill this role, as it does not rely on knowledge of particular words for performance, and it may be possible to devise non-words that are not specific to any given language. The current study reports performance on a Welsh non-word repetition task by typically developing Welsh–English bilingual children with varying levels of exposure to Welsh in the home (Only Welsh at Home, Only English at Home, or Welsh and English at Home). The focus of the study was on repetition of initial consonants and consonant clusters in novel words. Both quantitative and qualitative differences were found across groups, according to level of exposure to Welsh, on sounds unique to Welsh, but not on sounds shared by Welsh and English. The data suggest that level of knowledge of the language tested has an important impact on children’s performance on non-word repetition and that the use of the NWRT as a universal speech and language assessment tool should be adopted with caution.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1001 Celtic languages and literature
P Language and Literature > PE English
Uncontrolled Keywords: Non-word repetition task; bilinguals; exposure; speech and language assessment; Welsh.
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 0265-6590
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:42

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