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Using parental questionnaires to investigate the heritage language proficiency of bilingual children

Abbot-Smith, Kirsten, Morawska-Patera, Patrycja, ?uniewska, Magdalena, Spruce, Megan, Haman, Ewa (2018) Using parental questionnaires to investigate the heritage language proficiency of bilingual children. Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 34 (2). pp. 155-170. ISSN 0265-6590. (doi:10.1177/0265659018780958) (KAR id:66659)

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We asked whether parental questionnaires on the heritage language proficiency of bilingual children might elucidate how proficient bilingual children are in their heritage language. We tested 20 UK-based Polish-English bilingual children between 4;5 and 5;9 years on Polish and English versions of the Cross-Linguistic Lexical Tasks (CLTs). These comprise receptive and expressive picture tasks. Our bilingual group performed significantly worse on the Polish CLTs than on the English CLTs overall. They also performed significantly worse on the English CLTs than did an age- and gender-matched group of monolingual English-speaking children. Therefore our bilingual sample represent the type of bilinguals for whom education professionals have difficulty determining whether weak English is due to diminished English input versus an underlying Speech, Language or Communication Need.

Parents of the bilinguals completed a Polish adaptation of the Children’s Communication Checklist 2. They also completed the Parents of Bilingual Children Questionnaire (PaBiQ), which includes Risk Factor measures (‘No Risk Index’ and children’s ‘Current Language Skills’). The PaBiQ also includes measures of the Amount and Length of Exposure to the majority language (English) prior to age four as well as the proportion of English in the current input.

For the bilingual sample the CCC2 General Communication Composite (GCC), which measures structural language, significantly predicted Polish CLT production, uniquely accounting for 25% of the variance. The parent-rated PaBiQ ‘current Polish skills’ section predicted the Polish CLT comprehension. While the PaBiQ measure of Amount and Length of English Exposure was related to both Polish comprehension and production, it did not retain significance in a regression analysis. Therefore, parental questionnaires of the heritage language could provide a useful first step for education professionals when deciding whether to refer bilingual children for speech and language assessment. Large scale studies are needed to further develop these parental questionnaires.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0265659018780958
Additional information: AAM requested. No embargo required. MW 12.4.18 Added version information as missing from record. CW 23.08.18
Uncontrolled keywords: Bilingual; Children; Parental questionnaires; Screening; Primary school; Teachers; Polish
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Developmental Psychology
Depositing User: Kirsten Abbot-Smith
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2018 08:43 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abbot-Smith, Kirsten:
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