Interactions between bilingual effects and language impairment: Exploring grammatical markers in Spanish-speaking bilingual children

Anny P. Castilla-Earls, Maria Restrepo, Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux, Shelley Gray, Paul Holmes, Daniel Gail, Ziqiang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the interaction between language impairment and different levels of bilingual proficiency. Specifically, we explore the potential of articles and direct object pronouns as clinical markers of primary language impairment (PLI) in bilingual Spanish-speaking children. The study compared children with PLI and typically developing (TD) children matched on age, English language proficiency, and mother's education level. Two types of bilinguals were targeted: Spanish-dominant children with intermediate English proficiency (asymmetrical bilinguals), and near-balanced bilinguals. We measured children's accuracy in the use of direct object pronouns and articles with an elicited language task. Results from this preliminary study suggest language proficiency affects the patterns of use of direct object pronouns and articles. Across language proficiency groups, we find marked differences between TD and PLI, in the use of both direct object pronouns and articles. However, the magnitude of the difference diminishes in balanced bilinguals. Articles appear more stable in these bilinguals and, therefore, seem to have a greater potential to discriminate between TD bilinguals from those with PLI. Future studies using discriminant analyses are needed to assess the clinical impact of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1173
Number of pages27
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

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