"Twin Language" A Risk Factor for Language Impairment? Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1998
"Twin Language"
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • D. V. M. Bishop
    MRC Applied Psychology Unit Cambridge, UK
  • S. J. Bishop
    MRC Applied Psychology Unit Cambridge, UK
  • Contact author: D. V. M. Bishop, DPhil, MRC Applied Psycholory Unit, 15, Chaucer Road, Cambridge, CB2 2EF, UK. E-mail: dorothy.bishop@mrc-apu.cam.ac.uk
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1998
"Twin Language"
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 150-160. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.150
History: Received November 11, 1996 , Accepted May 23, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 150-160. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.150
History: Received November 11, 1996; Accepted May 23, 1997

Retrospective parental report of earlier "twin language" was obtained for two groups of twins. Sample G consisted of 94 twin pairs between the ages of 7 and 13 years recruited through the school system as a general population sample. Sample L consisted of 82 twin pairs between the ages of 7 and 13 years who had been recruited for a genetic study; of these twin pairs at least one of the twins had a speech-language impairment persisting to school age. Parental report of twin language was higher (around 50%) for children with speech-language impairment than for those with normal language (11%). Consistent with this, children with twin language obtained significantly lower mean language scores than other children, although their mean nonverbal IQ was equivalent. The exceptions were a handful of children whose parents described use of a "private language" that coexisted alongside normal use of English. These findings are consistent with the view that what is described as twin language is usually use of immature or deviant language by two children at the same developmental level.

Acknowledgments
This project would not have been possible without the generous assistance of the local educational authorities and primary and middle schools in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire and, most especially, the families with twins who took part in the study. Thanks are also due to Sandra Stops for help with data coding and to Barbara Cook, Tony North, Chris Donlan, Peter Bright, Tom Delaney, and Cheryl James for assistance in psychological assessment. This work was funded in part by Project Grant No. 8812317 from the Medical Research Council, UK.
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