Posts Tagged Welsh

Assessment of Bilingual Children

Accurate assessment of bilingual children is a challenge for educators including speech-language pathologists all over the world. When children have exposure to more than one language it might be difficult to know if low language and reading scores are due to lack of enough experience in the language tested or if these are indicative of a language impairment or language based reading delay. A number of research groups all over the world have been working on this problem for a number of years. Three years ago I participated in a workshop on bilingualism in Wales. A two-volume book, in part, is the current product of that workshop. For those who buy the pair, currently there is a discount offered. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m at a bilingual workshop this week in Wales at Gregynog Hall. The location is fantastic and you don’t really get a sense of the scale of it until you’re here. The focus of the conference is on assessment of bilinguals. It was organized and sponsored by ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism in Theory and Practices. There have been a number of interesting talks and exciting discussion. What’s fun about this kind of workshop is that everyone is studying bilingualism albeit in different populations (children and adults for example) and different languages in any number of combinations (including Welsh, Irish, Spanish, Basque, Dutch, and English) and for different purposes (proficiency, ability, dominance). So, I’ll be posting over the next day or so (and probably once I get back) on what I’ve learned here.

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Does bilingualism cause mental retardation?

Today, Martin Shipton reported that an expert witness in a custody case testified that, “Welsh medium education could cause mental retardation in some children.” While the details of specific case are unknown, it seems that the expert believes that either Welsh causes mental retardation or that bilingualism causes mental retardation. Neither of these of course is true, but it brings up some of the same arguements that we hear over and over again. Can children handle two languages? Do children who divide their attention between two languages learn either one well? Yet, all over the world, children can and do operate in more than one language.

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