Grammatical Characteristics of a Spanish-English Bilingual Child with Specific Language Impairment

Maria Adelaida Restrepo, Kirsten Kruth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


These case studies describe and compare the language characteristics of two bilingual children: one with specific language impairment (SLI) and one with normal language development (NL). Using spontaneous language sampling, we found that the linguistic skills of the bilingual child with SLI were qualitatively different from those of the NL child across languages. The child with SLI produced significantly more morphosyntactic errors and less variety of grammatical forms and sentence types in both languages as compared to the NL child. In addition, some of those errors were different from those typically produced by monolingual children with SLI or speakers of English as a second language. Furthermore, the bilingual child with SLI demonstrated significant first- language loss. These findings support the hypothesis that there are cross-linguistic variations of grammatical SLI markers, and they highlight the importance of early intervention in preventing first-language loss. Moreover, the findings suggest that clinicians should expect morphosyntactic differences between monolingual and bilingual children with SLI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalCommunication Disorders Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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