Investigating Children’s Narrative Abilities in a Chinese and Multilingual Context: Cantonese, Mandarin, Kam and Urdu Adaptations of the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN)

Rachel T.Y. Kan (Corresponding Author), Angel Chan (Corresponding Author), Natalia Gagarina

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This article introduces the LITMUS-MAIN (Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Settings-MAIN) and motivates the adaptation of this instrument into Chinese languages and language pairs involving a Chinese language, namely Cantonese, Mandarin, Kam, Urdu. We propose that these new adapted protocols not only contribute to the theoretical discussion on story grammar and widen the evidential base of MAIN to include more languages in studying bilinguals, they also offer new methods of assessing language development in young children that have the potential to tease apart the effects of language impairment and bilingualism and improve the identification of Developmental Language Disorder. These new protocols are the first tools to be designed for the dual assessment of language skills in these particular languages, in particular narrative skills in bilingual children speaking these languages. By catering to under-researched languages and over-looked groups of bilingual children, these new tools could improve the clinical management for certain bilingual ethnic minority children such as Urdu-Cantonese and Kam-Mandarin bilinguals, as well as promote the study of these groups and their acquisition issues. Advances in understanding the theoretical and acquisition issues in childhood bilingualism can also be made possible using these new tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number573780
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020


  • bilingualism/multilingualism
  • Chinese languages
  • Developmental Language Disorder
  • ethnic minority children
  • language assessment
  • narrative abilities
  • Urdu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this