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Worldwide more than half of all children grow up with two or more languages. Currently about one fifth of the children in Germany have a bi- or multilingual biography, with increasing tendency. While in Germany bi- and multilingualism has long been regarded as a problematic factor, recent empirical findings categorically call this view into question. Speech and language disorders, for instance, are not caused by the phenomenon; while in some cases, multilingualism may result in a limited lexical and semantic knowledge in a single language, multilingual children, however, are by no means inferior to monolingual children regarding the entirety of their linguistic knowledge and skills. Quite in contrast: they seem to even exceed them in the area of metalinguistic capacities.Notwithstanding, also multilingual children are affected by (specific) speech and language impairments the same way their monolingual peers are and thus confront speech and language pathologists with elementary challenges: How can an accurate diagnosis be made and the necessity for an intervention be identified? How can children with a typical bi- or multilingual language development be distiguished from children with a (specific) speech and language disorder? Which intervention strategies are appropriate and effective and in what language? What recommendations can be given to the parents concerned?We have founded a working group on the subject that engages in the identification and systematisation of potential topics of concern and has undertaken to examine them in more detail through a series of pilot studies. The aim of this working group is to take full account of the diversity of the phemenon of multilingualism as well as to derive applicable recommendations for the specific subgroups of children growing up bi- and multilingually.



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  • Ritterfeld, U. (2006). Englischlernen neben der Grundschule: Plädoyer für eine medienvermittelte Erweiterung der phonologischen Zweitsprachkompetenz. L.O.G.O.S. interdisziplinär, 14, 31-37.

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