COMMUNICATIVE IMPAIRMENT

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AThEME has published a second European Policy Brief , this time on multilingualism and communicative impairment.

Based on AThEME research findings dealing with communicative impairment, this document is intended to present policy-relevant findings to (European) decision-makers as well as offer them research-based policy recommendations.

Published on the European Commission website showcasing Social Sciences & Humanities research:

MULTILINGUALISM AND COMMUNICATIVE IMPAIRMENT: IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY

This study, developed by the University of Verona (Italy), in collaboration with the University of Trento (Italy) and the Xiamen University (China), sheds light on the relationship between bilingualism and developmental dyslexia by comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children, with and without a diagnosis of dyslexia, in a task set up to assess metalinguistic and morphological awareness.

Preliminary findings suggest that a bilingual advantage extends to children with dyslexia. This is an exciting and important finding for all the educators, speech therapists and teachers who think that bilingualism may have a negative influence on dyslexia and therefore may tend to provide families of dyslexic children with negative advice when it comes to bilingualism. The results of this study show that in many cases bilingualism can even act as a positive, protective factor on dyslexia, especially in enhancing the subjects’ metalinguistic and morphological awareness.

Published in:

  • Maria Vender, Shenai Hu, Federica Mantione, Silvia Savazzi, Denis Delfitto & Chiara Melloni (2018). Inflectional morphology: evidence for an advantage of bilingualism in dyslexia, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2018.1450355.

Residents of nursing homes often find it difficult to develop (new) social relationships with other residents, even though these social relationships can contribute to quality of life, life meaning and satisfaction and feelings of belonging. Until now, little research has been done on the role language practices can play in encouraging residents to develop and maintain these social networks.

For this particular study, researchers from the The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) spent time collecting data at a relatively large nursing home in Maastricht in the Netherlands. By observing participants and conducting informal interviews, they explored the development of social networks among residents during different settings in the common area of the nursing home.

The results of this study show that language is an important factor for nursing home residents to be able to develop a social network. Due to the associations people make with linguistic features, residents prefer to develop a social network with those who are perceived to speak the same language or dialect.