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Language Disorders in Bilingual Children and Adults

Second Edition
Kathryn Kohnert
360 pages, Illustrated (B/W), Softcover, 6 x 9"
Release Date:
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Language Disorders in Bilingual Children and Adults, second edition, provides speech-language pathologists, advanced students in communication disorders programs, and clinical language researchers with information needed to formulate and respond to questions related to effective service delivery to bilingual children and adults with suspected or confirmed language disorders. The bilinguals of interest represent varying levels of first and second language proficiency across the lifespan. That is, bilingualism is not determined here by a prior notions of relative proficiency in each language, but rather by the individual's experience or need for two languages.

In separate chapters, the book synthesizes the literatures on bilingual children and adults with typical and atypical language skills to give the reader a deep understanding of the multiple factors that affect language development and disorders in those who rely on two languages for meaningful interactions. Assessment and intervention issues and methods are presented separately for each population.

The focus for children is on primary developmental language disorder (specific language impairment, language learning impairment, isolated language impairment, and late talkers). For adults, the focus is on primary acquired language impairment, in particular aphasia. Although child and adult, typical and atypical populations are presented separately, all are considered within a unifying Dynamic Interactive Processing perspective. This broad theoretical framework emphasizes interactions between social, cognitive and communicative systems to form the basis for very practical implications related to assessment and intervention.

For the second edition, the author has updated the entire text with references to the considerable amount of research that has been undertaken in recent years. There has been an impressive uptick in research at the intersection of bilingualism and language impairment as well as bilingualism and adults with aphasia. This rapidly increasing body of empirical studies has direct implications for assessment and treatment of language in bilingual individuals.

Other additions to the second edition include:

  • A foreword by Ellen Bialystok, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University
  • New content on "common factors" - those core aspects of clinical practice that may transcend specific therapies
  • Clinical Questions and Extension Activities added to each chapter
  • New tables and figures in each chapter to illustrate key concepts

With its updated content and new features, Language Disorders in Bilingual Children and Adults, Second Edition, is a must-have resource for any SLP who works bilingual children or adults.


  • Bob Roza, MS, CCC-SLP, Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (June 2008):
    "''REVIEW OF THE FIRST EDITION'' Kathryn Kohnert, PhD, CCC-SLP, has done a phenomenal job with ''Language Disorders in Bilingual Children and Adults''. She has taken the complex issue of bilingualism and offered concise information that is relevant to both children and adults. The book is intended to provide speech-language pathologists with information to formulate and respond to meaningful questions that will support clinical decision-making in serving bilingual children and adults with language disorders. Dr. Kohnert stresses the need to increase professional understanding and competency in working with these populations."

  • SciTech Book News, SciTech Book News (REVIEW OF THE FIRST EDITION (2007)):
    "...offers a theoretically motivated, empirically rich, commonsense approach to support clinical decisions to best serve bilingual children and adults with language disorders. The bilinguals of interest represent varying levels of first and second language proficiency across the life span."

  • Courtenay Frazier Norbury, RCUK Research Fellow in Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Child Language Teaching and Therapy journal (February 2016):
    "This book provides an extremely accessible overview of the current state of knowledge regarding typical and atypical development of children exposed to more than one language. It provides much needed context for clinical decision-making and gives clear messages about best practice advice regarding maintenance of home languages when English is the language of instruction. I found this a thought-provoking read that provides some very clear messages and the evidence-based context for practical advice."

Section I: Foundational Issues
1 Perspectives on Language, Bilingualism, and Language Proficiency
2 Culture and Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology
3 Principles for Clinical Actions: EBP and Common Factors

Section II: Bilingual Children
4 Typically Developing Children Learning One or Two Languages
5 Primary Language Impairment in Bilingual Children
6 Language Assessment with Developing Bilinguals: Purposes, Principles and Procedures
7 Intervention with Bilingual Children with Language Impairment

Section III: Bilingual Adults
8 Language and Cognition in Bilingual Adults
9 Language and Cognition in Bilinguals with Aphasia
10 Assessment in Bilingual Aphasia: Giving Meaning to Measures
11 Intervention in Bilingual Aphasia

About The Author

Kathryn Kohnert

Kathryn Kohnert, PhD, CCC-SLP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota, where she founded the Bilingual-Multicultural Emphasis Program in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. She received her PhD from the joint doctoral program in Language and Communicative Disorders at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Kohnert’s NIH-funded research has focused on language and cognition in diverse populations, including bilingual children and adults with and without language impairment. Her research articles have appeared in more than twenty different peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journals. She has also written many book chapters and intervention programs. Dr. Kohnert has been a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since 1992 and was named an ASHA Fellow in 2009. She twice served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research and on the editorial board for several international journals. Dr. Kohnert has received many awards for her research, teaching excellence and professional service. She has given invited research and professional talks throughout the United States and internationally on issues at the intersection of communication disorders and second language learning. Dr. Kohnert currently writes and consults from her home in Minneapolis.

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