Language Sample Analysis and Elicitation Technique Effects in Bilingual Children With and Without Language Impairment

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Journal of Speech Language, and hearing research

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Purpose This study examined whether the language sample elicitation technique (i.e., storytelling and story-retelling tasks with pictorial support) affects lexical diversity (D), grammaticality (grammatical errors per communication unit [GE/CU]), sentence length (mean length of utterance in words [MLUw]), and sentence complexity (subordination index [SI]), which are commonly used indices for diagnosing primary language impairment in Spanish–English-speaking children in the United States. Method Twenty bilingual Spanish–English-speaking children with typical language development and 20 with primary language impairment participated in the study. Four analyses of variance were conducted to evaluate the effect of language elicitation technique and group on D, GE/CU, MLUw, and SI. Also, 2 discriminant analyses were conducted to assess which indices were more effective for story retelling and storytelling and their classification accuracy across elicitation techniques. Results D, MLUw, and SI were influenced by the type of elicitation technique, but GE/CU was not. The classification accuracy of language sample analysis was greater in story retelling than in storytelling, with GE/CU and D being useful indicators of language abilities in story retelling and GE/CU and SI in storytelling. Conclusion Two indices in language sample analysis may be sufficient for diagnosis in 4- to 5-year-old bilingual Spanish–English-speaking children.

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