Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Joanna Sienkiewicz, Aneta Miękisz, Katarzyna Kuś, Napoleon Katsos,Ciara O’Toole, Ewa Haman
Child Language Impairment in Multilingual Contexts
Assessment of grammatical and lexical skills of Polish monolinguals and bilinguals by Communicative Development Inventory.
Krakow, Poland
Poster Presentation
Optional Fields

We present data gathered from 130 children: 70 Polish-English bilinguals and 60 Polish monolinguals (23-36 months). The study is a part of an ongoing investigation conducted within the framework of a Polish BI-SLI-PL project (

bi-sli-pl ) and COST Action IS0804 – WG3. Our project aims at assessing cognitive and linguistic development of Polish bilingual children in the UK and Ireland. In the current study, parents of bilingual children were asked to fill the CDI forms (Polish adaptation of  the Communicative Development Inventory, Smoczyńska, 1999) as well as a detailed Parental Questionnaire prepared by the WG3 of the COST Action IS0804 (Gatt, O’Toole, Haman, 2011). Variables such as age, gender, type of exposure (simultaneous vs sequential), age of exposure to English, language input (% of Polish & English), and SES were controlled for. We report the preliminary results obtained for children who had both parts (the lexical and grammatical) of the Polish  CDI forms filled in. The results indicate that monolingual children (MoL) outperformed bilingual children (BiL) in scores obtained for grammatical and lexical skills. The difference was statistically significant: Lexical part (t = 5,24; p < 0,001): MoL: M = 0,61, SD = 0,28; BiL: M = 0,35, SD = 0,28) and grammar (t = 5,18; p < 0,001): MoL: M = 0,61, SD = 0,24; BiL: M = 0,37, SD = 0,28.  There was also an effect of gender: girls (monolingual and bilingual) had significantly higher scores than boys in lexical and grammar part.  There was high correlation between grammar and lexicon (Pearson correlations: rMoL = 0,85, rBiL = 0,75). The results support the call for more accurate assessment of language development of bilingual children We should interpret the data with caution since the adaptation used in the study was designed for monolingual population and there is a great need for tools designed especially for bilingual population (Thordardottir, 2005; De Houwer, 2009). It is true that bilinguals do perform differently than monolinguals but we cannot state that their development is retarded.