FALSE: A misconception concerning the use of code-switching assumes that alternation between two languages is a sign of disorder which results from incompletely learned language systems. Kohnert refutes this idea, arguing that while code-switching may sometimes be utilized by children with limited proficiency in one language or another as a communicative strategy to compensate for missing language or lexical knowledge, it is not a sign of language disorder or... Read More

FALSE: A common myth refers to the expectation that bilingual children will be delayed in language, specifically in the production of their first words and early syntax. This belief is anchored in the theory that because bilingual children are receiving more complex linguistic input in the form of two distinct systems, it will take them longer to begin speaking and using grammar than their monolingual peers. However, in a 1998 research study of American toddlers, it was concluded that there was not a significant difference... Read More

FALSE: While standard measures are necessary in qualifying children for services, their utility in identifying disorder in bilingual populations is limited. However, a survey of 596 current practicing Speech-Language Pathologists illustrated that the majority of respondents use standardized assessment tools to assess bilingual populations. In a 2001 study examining the validity of the Preschool Language Scale, Third Ed. for assessing Spanish-English bilinguals, the test was only found to accurately identify language... Read More

FALSE: Research has shown that preservation of L1 in the home does not inhibit acquisition of the majority language, even in children with a language disorder. This myth is based on the belief that children with LD could limit their linguistic potential in L2 by taking on the burden of learning two languages. Academics have questioned whether learning a second language is detrimental to the overall language acquisition in children with LD. A study in 2003 by Paradis et al. found that children with LD who received consistent... Read More

FALSE: The idea that bilingual learners with LD will fare worse than their monolingual peers with LD is based on the belief that acquiring more than one language taxes the child's language learning resources, therefore leading to greater impairment than those learning only one language. While the topic of bilingual language acquisition in learners with LD is an area which demands further investigation, Kohnert contends that the available research indicates that children with LD can and do learn two languages, given... Read More

FALSE: A myth surrounding language disorder is that bilingual children with LD will only demonstrate difficulties in one language. Research has revealed that a child with LD will show evidence of disorder in learning and using both languages, as LD is likely due to an underlying inefficiency in processing language. While the impairment will manifest itself in both languages, the difficulties a child has within each language will vary based on their contextual experience and the phonetic components and structure of that... Read More

FALSE: Another common myth is that if children are in a primarily English environment any instruction or intervention should be done in English to facilitate more rapid learning. There are many reasons why this may not be the case. First, conducting intervention in the child's primary language may actually increase the speed at which they learn English language structures and forms. For example, in a 1992 study in Texas, two groups of bilingual children were given treatment in English pronouns and prepositions. Those who... Read More

FALSE: Another misconception surrounding the language development of bilinguals is that children in a primarily English-speaking environment should eliminate any linguistic input in L1 from the home to facilitate acquisition of L2. There is no empirical evidence to support that bilingualism inhibits a child’s acquisition of the target language. Beyond the absence of research, it is imperative that caretakers have the ability to speak with their children in their native language throughout development. Caretakers use... Read More

FALSE: The idea of a critical language period prior to adolescence, in which brain plasticity is presumably greater, has influenced the assumption that later L2 learners are not capable of achieving native or near-native proficiency in a second language. Kohnert (2008) emphasizes that the age of acquisition of two different languages does not ultimately determine the level of proficiency attained. Older learners may even exhibit accelerated levels of L2 acquisition in the initial stages of L2 learning. Second language... Read More

FALSE: This myth is based on results from past research that used monolingual standards to assess the language development of simultaneous bilingual children. Studies that found a delay in this population were flawed in research design as the linguistic abilities of the bilingual participants were assessed separately in each language, and then compared to the performance of their monolingual peers. While some concepts may be understood by bilingual children in both languages, many words are understood in either L1 or L2,... Read More