Second language (L2) competence is a central requirement for successful educational and economic integration of children with a migration background. Kindergarten and school teachers can tell that the language of a child is not what is expected for his or her age, but they are insecure about disentangling language impairment from an interlanguage of a typically developing L2 learner.
This project aims to establish how we can identify, for children who demonstrate atypical patterns of L2 development, whether their problems result from a Specific Language Impairment (SLI), or from being bilingual, and receiving less input in the language in which they are assessed. The morpho-syntactic knowledge, morpho-phonological processing and narrative abilities of Russian-Hebrew and Russian-German migrant children in preschool and school years are investigated.
Experimental findings for production, sentence repetition, non-word repetition and narrative retelling tasks should make it possible to find separate characteristics for L2 and SLI, in order to develop clinical assessment tools on the one hand and support educational practice on the other.
The study can be seen as a starting point for developing more effective language support programs in school as well as speech and language intervention strategies.