The main objective of the project is to compare the acquisition of discourse coherence devices by typically developing children (TD) and bilingual children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and to pinpoint separate and combined effects of SLI and bilingualism in the domain of discourse coherence.
The project is a cooperation between Utrecht University, Netherlands, Centre for General Linguistics (ZAS), Berlin, and Herzen State Pedagogical University, St. Petersburg, Russia. The research in Berlin focuses on the acquisition of coherence devices by TD and SLI russian-german bilingual children (age range: 6-8 years old). Many of these children lack appropriate language proficiency due to various factors, including lack of exposure, insufficient input and deficiency of internal and external factors which are crucial for language acquisition. The complexity of factors which have an impact on (bilingual) language acquisition and the absence of acquisition standards for bilingualism lead to difficulties in assessing bilingual children with problems and to the misdiagnosis of bilingual children for SLI. Our findings will contribute to the development of clinical assessment tools for bilingual language acquisition.