University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Supervisor

Dr.Lisa Archibald

Abstract

Sentence recall has been identified as a potential clinical marker of Specific Language Impairment (SLI). The extent to which sentence recall may be useful in distinguishing children with SLI from English Language Learners (ELL) has not been examined. Despite tapping existing language knowledge, sentence recall may be sufficiently sensitive to reveal differences between these groups. In the present study, 1253 school age children completed a sentence recall task and their parents declared whether their first language was English and whether there were any concerns about language development. Given the lack of a gold standard in identifying language impairment in bilingual groups, we used parental concern to compare four groups: (1) monolingual-no-parental-concerns; (2) monolingual-with-concerns; (3) ELL-no-concerns; (4) ELL-with-concerns. The results indicated that the monolingual-no-concerns group recalled sentences more accurately than all remaining groups while the ELL-with-concerns group performed least well. Interestingly, the monolingual-with-concern group and the ELL-no-concern group achieved almost the similar scores in the middle range. The developmental consistency of these findings was striking