Assessing bilingual Chinese–English young children in Malaysia using language sample measures

Chia Wen OOI, Anita M.-Y. WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


One reason why specific language impairment (SLI) is grossly under-identified in Malaysia is the absence of locally- developed norm-referenced language assessment tools for its multilingual and multicultural population. Spontaneous language samples provide quantitative information for language assessment, and useful descriptive information on child language development in complex language and cultural environments. This research consisted of two studies and investigated the use of measures obtained from English conversational samples among bilingual Chinese-English Malaysian preschoolers. The research found that the language sample measures were sensitive to developmental changes in this population and could identify SLI. The first study examined the relationship between age and mean length of utterance (MLUw), lexical diversity (D), and the index of productive syntax (IPSyn) among 52 typically-developing (TD) children aged between 3;4-6;9. Analyses showed a significant linear relationship between age and D (r =.450), the IPsyn (r =.441), and MLUw (r =.318). The second study compared the same measures obtained from 10 children with SLI, aged between 3;8-5;11, and their age-matched controls. The children with SLI had significantly shorter MLUw and lower IPSyn scores than the TD children. These findings suggest that utterance length and syntax production can be potential clinical markers of SLI in Chinese-English Malaysian children. Copyright © 2012 The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number6
Early online date05 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Ooi, C. C.-W., & Wong, A. M.-Y. (2012). Assessing bilingual Chinese–English young children in Malaysia using language sample measures. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(6), 499-508. doi: 10.3109/17549507.2012.712159


  • Child language development
  • Specific language impairment
  • Non-standard English bilinguals
  • Language sample measures


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing bilingual Chinese–English young children in Malaysia using language sample measures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.