A descriptive study of lexical organisation in bilingual children with language impairment: Developmental changes

Ketty Holmström, Eva-Kristina Salameh, Ulrika Nettelbladt, Annika Dahlgren Sandberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose : This study aimed to describe the development of Arabic and Swedish lexical organisation in bilingual children with
language impairment (BLI).
Method : Lexical organisation was assessed through word associations in 10 BLI and 10 bilingual children with typical
development (BTD), aged 6;2 – 8;0 years, matched for age and gender. The participants were assessed twice, with a 1-year
interval. Word associations were coded as paradigmatic, syntagmatic, phonological, other and no answer. This study reports
analyses of the semantically-related syntagmatic and paradigmatic associations. Using repeated measures ANOVA, main and
interaction effects of Group, Time and Language were examined for paradigmatic and syntagmatic associations separately.
Result : The interaction between Group and Time was signifi cant for both associations. The BLI group increased syntagmatic
associations from time 1 to time 2, while the BTD group increased paradigmatic associations. Results showed a signifi cant
main effect of Language for both types of associations, with better performance in Swedish. Signifi cant Group by Language
interactions resulted from lower Arabic than Swedish syntagmatic and paradigmatic scores for the BLI and BTD groups,
Conclusion : Differing developmental trajectories indicate that bilingual children with LI develop lexical organisation at a
slower pace than bilingual peers with typical language development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-189
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Health Sciences

Free keywords

  • Bilingualism
  • lexicon
  • language impairment


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