Purpose This study reports on the development of an auditory passage comprehension task for Swedish primary school children of cultural and linguistic diversity. It also reports on their performance on the task in quiet and in noise. Method Eighty-eight children aged 7-9 years and showing normal hearing participated. The children were divided into three groups based on presumed language exposure: 13 children were categorized as Swedish-speaking monolinguals, 19 children were categorized as simultaneous bilinguals, and 56 children were categorized as sequential bilinguals. No significant difference in working memory capacity was seen between the three language groups. Two passages and associated multiple-choice questions were developed. During development of the passage comprehension task, steps were taken to reduce the impact of culture-specific prior experience and knowledge on performance. This was achieved by using the story grammar principles, universal topics and plots, and simple language that avoided complex or unusual grammatical structures and words. Results The findings indicate no significant difference between the two passages and similar response distributions. Passage comprehension performance was significantly better in quiet than in noise, regardless of language exposure group. The monolinguals outperformed both simultaneous and sequential bilinguals in both listening conditions. Conclusions Because the task was designed to minimize the effect of cultural knowledge on auditory passage comprehension, this suggests that compared with monolinguals, both simultaneous and sequential bilinguals have a disadvantage in auditory passage comprehension. As expected, the findings demonstrate that noise has a negative effect on auditory passage comprehension. The magnitude of this effect does not relate to language exposure. The developed auditory passage comprehension task seems suitable for assessing auditory passage comprehension in primary school children of linguistic and cultural diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3883
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Psychology


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