Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society; Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment
COST Action IS0804
Chair: Sharon Armon-Lotem, BIU
Vice Chair: Jan de Jong, UVA
Action Secretary: Natalia Meir
The focus of COST Action IS0804 was on designing, piloting and providing scientific validation for analytic tools to be used in future assessment of bilingual children with SLI, thus fulfilling its scientific objectives as formulated in the MoU. Its activities resulted in LITMUS (Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Setting) - a battery of tasks for studying different language pairs which was presented in its final conference in Krakow. This was achieved using a vast variety of COST tools, e.g., MC meetings &WG workshops, STSMs and the Action webpage. Dissemination activities included a summer school and several international workshops for practitioners.
Scientific breakthrough was achieved through the application of the LITMUS across Europe. LITMUS tools will become available through the webpage following a publication of a methods book with Multilingual Matters, to be followed by a book on results and applications with John Benjamins. In some settings, LITMUS tools have already been able to accurately diagnose 80% of bilingual children (compared to 30-50% with monolingual tests). Societal impact was achieved by improved diagnostics of language impairments, often in populations which were never studied before (e.g., in Serbia), which is bound to have a major impact on educational placement of bilingual children. The Action has attracted 51 MC members from 26 COST countries and 8 MC members from 7 non-COST countries. ESRs (60% of the 207 Action members (with 88% female)) were involved in these activities at all levels, through STSMs and workshops organized by Action members.