DOI: 10.1044/2023_persp-23-00101 ISSN: 2381-4764

Assessing Speech Production in Mandarin–English Bilingual Children: Comparison of Mandarin and English Sound Systems and Special Considerations

Jie Yang, Maria Resendiz
  • General Medicine


When assessing bilingual children's speech, it is important to determine whether the errors are indicative of a true speech sound disorder or a speech sound difference. The purpose of this tutorial is to provide cultural and linguistic background of Mandarin in comparison to English and to outline the process of speech production assessment for Mandarin–English bilingual children.


Pertinent literature was reviewed around varieties of Chinese, unique features of the Mandarin sound system, commonly used transcription methods (International Phonetic Alphabet and Pinyin ), and patterns of Mandarin-influenced English. Previous research findings on the acquisition of consonants, vowels, and tones in monolingual Mandarin-speaking children were summarized.


The assessment process including consonants, vowels, tones, syllable structures, and lexical stress was described and illustrated with flow charts. Recourses related to cultural and linguistic information of Mandarin and accessible assessment materials are referenced.


A thorough knowledge of a child's language background is crucial in planning assessment of speech production for Mandarin–English bilingual children. A comparative understanding of the sound systems of Mandarin and English facilitates clinical decision making.

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