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The main goal of this tutorial is to promote the study of children with developmental language disorder (DLD) across different languages of the world. The cumulative effect of these efforts is likely to be a set of more compelling and comprehensive theories of language learning difficulties and, possibly, of language acquisition in general. Benefits to children and local societies are also likely to accrue. After presenting some of the initial considerations involved in the cross-linguistic study of children with language disorders, we provide examples of the types of questions that might be asked. The examples are informed by our own collaborative work studying children DLD across the languages of Cantonese, Finnish, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish, as well as English. Examples from investigators’ work on other languages are also included. We discuss within-language comparisons of children with DLD and their same-age and younger typically developing peers as well as between-language comparisons of children with DLD. Examples concern issues of morphophonology, prosody, syntactic movement, verb paradigm complexity, and underlying mechanisms, among others. These examples—tied as they are to current theories and hypotheses—are necessarily limited to the types of languages already receiving investigative attention. Through the participation of child language scholars from a wider set of disciplines we can expand the number and types of languages studied and, as a consequence, greatly enhance our understanding of childhood language disorders.


This is the publisher PDF of Leonard, L., & Schroeder, M. L. (2023). The study of children with developmental language disorder beyond English: A tutorial. Language Acquisition. Published CC-BY-NC-ND by Taylor & Francis, it is available at DOI: 10.1080/10489223.2023.2197891.

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