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COST Action IS0804

Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society:
Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment
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Aim of COST Action IS0804
Second language learners often produce language patterns resembling those of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). The overlap among the features of bilingual and impaired language lead to methodological and clinical confusion, which this Action aims to resolve in order to improve language assessment of minority language children.
What is 'BiSLI'?
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Specific Language Impairment (SLI), also known as Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), is an innate, primary deficit in linguistic abilities and language development (Bishop et al., 2000), affecting 7-10% of preschool children (the Bercow review, 2008). In bilingual children, SLI/DLD is  manifested in the both languages. Early assessment of bilingual SLI/DLD (BiSLI) among bilingual children is a challange due to the overlap among the features of bilingual and impaired language.
Main objective of COST Action IS0804
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The main objective of this Action is to profile bilingual specific language impairment (SLI) by establishing a network to coordinate research on the linguistic and cognitive abilities of bilingual children with SLI across different migrant communities. 
Derived objectives
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  • Disentangle bilingualism and SLI by establishing the relative contribution of each.  
  • Show how SLI can be identified in both of a child’s languages;
  •  Explore the extent to which the manifestations of SLI are similar or different across languages in the same child
  • Establish whether the nature and severity of SLI is affected by the child’s acquisition of more than one language.
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Secondary objectives
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  • Mentor young researchers from countries with significant immigrant populations and language combinations. 
  •  Identify critical sociolinguistic information which will set standards for increasing comparability of research in bilingual SLI.
  • Develop guidelines for assessment. 
Outcomes
Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Setting (LITMUS) - composed of tests from all four WGs, including a bilingual sensitive sentence repetition, a multilingual narrative protocol and scoring (MAIN), a quasi-universal non-word repetition, a crosslinguistic lexical tasks (CLT), executive function tasks and a Parents Bilingual Questionnaire (PABIQ)  

www.bi-sli.org includes information about both past and future activities as well as separate pages with FAQ for parents and clinicians in many of the Action languages.

A methods book for researchers and practitioners; “Methods for assessing multilingual children:  disentangling bilingualism from Language Impairment.” To appear in Multilingual Matters (2014)