American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Cultural and Linguistic Variables

Provision of services requires consideration of a variety of cultural and linguistic variables.

Cultural Variables

  • Child-rearing practices
  • Ethnicity
  • Experience
  • Gender/gender identification
  • Generational views
  • Nonverbal behaviors (i.e., eye contact, gestures)
  • Perceptions and beliefs about age and disability
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Rules of interaction (i.e., turn taking, interruption)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status

Linguistic Variables

  • All primary and subsequent oral, written, and manual languages used by the individual

Variables Specific to Bilingual Individuals

For the bilingual individual being treated or evaluated, it is important to determine the dominant language . This can be done by looking at each language independently. Look at the length of time the client has had access to each language and the type of language learning (formal or informal). Keep in mind that language dominance fluctuates over time and is dependent on active use of the language. A person's ability to communicate in a particular language may be greatly diminished due to lack of use or exposure to the language-this is known as language loss .

Information on an individual's language experience can be collected when gathering a case history. This information is vital to a thorough evaluation of a bilingual individual. One must also consider where the person is in the second language acquisition process.

 

Gathering a Case History

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