>> Visit COST Action IS00804 on the official COST website


>> Download our Action's:


>> Read our story on the COST website


>> Read our info blurb on IASCL


>> Visit conferences organized within our Action or by members of the Action:

biSLI Activities


The Action's final conference will be held in Krakow, Poland. Click here for further information or go to the conference webpage.


The Action will organize an international workshop on Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society at this year's Bangor Summer School on Bilingualism at Bangor University in Wales. Click here for further information on this dissemination event.

The Action will sponsor courses on bilingual SLI at this year's LOT Summer School in Utrecht. Click here for further information on this training school. (Now with course info!)


biSLI News


6 January 2013
Happy New Year to everyone! The information for the next MC meeting in Lisbon is available here (or click Meeting above).


13 February 2011
The first major overhaul and update of the Action's website is completed; please email the webmaster for feedback and further suggestions.

COST Action IS0804

Aim of COST Action IS0804


Second language learners often produce language patterns resembling those of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). The overlap among the features of bilingual and impaired language lead to methodological and clinical confusion, which this Action aims to resolve in order to improve language assessment of minority language children.

What is 'biSLI'?


European migrations have led to dramatic increases in the number of children being raised with two or more languages in multilingual communities. The numbers of children who come to school with more than one language has increased over threefold since the year 2000 in Ireland, Italy, and Spain and by 50% in the last two years in the UK (ec.europa.eu/education). In the rest of Europe, this situation is far from unique.

At present, medical, language, and educational professionals have only limited diagnostic instruments to distinguish bilingual migrant children with language impairments from those who will eventually catch up with their monolingual peers. In the Netherlands, for example, bilinguals constitute 14% of the mainstream school population, but 24% of them study in special schools for children with SLI. If there were no misdiagnoses, the percentage of bilingual children should be identical in mainstream and special schools.

Main objective of COST Action IS0804


To profile bilingual specific language impairment (biSLI) by establishing a network that will coordinate research on the linguistic and cognitive abilities of bilingual children with SLI across different migrant communities.

Derived objectives

  • disentangle bilingualism and SLI by establishing the relative contribution of each
  • show how SLI can be identified in both of a child's languages
  • explore the extent to which the manifestations of SLI are similar or different across languages in the same child
  • establish whether the nature and severity of SLI is affected by the child's acquisition of more than one language

Secondary objectives

  • mentor young researchers from countries with significant immigrant populations and language combinations
  • identify critical sociolinguistic information which will set standards for increasing comparability of research in biSLI
  • develop guidelines for assessment

How the Action is motivated

  • COST Action IS0804 is motivated theoretically by:
    – how typological differences between the two languages of bilingual children with SLI effect the manifestation of SLI in each language
    – how bilingualism and language impairment, respectively, affect the performance of bilingual children with SLI
  • COST Action IS0804 is motivated practically by:
    – challenges that multilingualism poses for the diagnosis and treatment of language-impaired bilingual children

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