Semin Speech Lang 2005; 26(1): 54-63
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-864216
Copyright © 2005 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Phonological Skills of Children Adopted from China: Implications for Assessment

Karen E. Pollock1 , Johanna R. Price2
  • 1Professor and Chair, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 2Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
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24. Februar 2005 (online)


Little is known about the acquisition of English phonology by children adopted from China. Data are summarized from three recent studies with a focus on the phonological skills of children adopted from China as infants or toddlers. Two longitudinal studies (combined n = 8) described early phonological behaviors (e.g., babbling, phonetic inventories), and found substantial individual variation. In spite of this variation by 3 years of age, nearly all of the children were performing at a level comparable to nonadopted monolingual English-speaking peers. No clear relationship between the early behaviors and outcome at age 3 was found. The third study provided descriptions of the phonological skills of preschoolers (n = 25) who had been adopted 2 or more years earlier, and found that only a few had persistent phonological delays. Errors were predominantly common developmental errors frequently observed in nonadopted monolingual English-speaking children. These findings suggest that tests and measures developed for monolingual English-speaking children may be used cautiously with children adopted as infants or toddlers who have been in their permanent homes for 2 or more years. Prior to that time, assessment should focus on independent analyses of phonological behaviors with consideration of the child's chronological age, length of exposure to English, and development in other language domains.


Karen E Pollock, Ph.D. , CCC-SLP 

Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, University of Alberta

2-70 Corbett Hall, Edmonton

Alberta T6G 2G4, Canada

eMail: [email protected]