A developmental study of Spanish-English production in bilingual children

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Abstract

30 Spanish-English bilingual and 30 English monolingual children aged 3-7 yrs were asked to imitate Spanish and English lexical and syntactic constructions. Lexical items contained phonemes that have been previously identified as “high risk” for monolingual speakers of Spanish or English. Therefore, specific error patterns were predictable. Sentence constructions emphasized plurality, possessiveness, and adjective-noun word order. Monolinguals and bilinguals did not significantly differ on English imitations: Both groups scored near 100% correct. As expected, bilinguals scored significantly higher than monolinguals on all Spanish tasks. Errors for both bilinguals and monolinguals on Spanish sentence tasks took the form of omissions. Results indicate that Spanish competency on tasks like these does not “handicap” similar competencies in English for bilingual children at these age levels. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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