The complexity of the Spanish subjunctive in bilingual children with SLI

Anny Castilla-Earls, Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux, Maria Restrepo, Daniel Gaile, Ziqiang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates the use of the Spanish subjunctive in bilingual children with and without specific language impairments (SLI). Using an elicitation task, we examine: (i) the potential of the subjunctive as a grammatical marker of SLI in Spanish-English bilingual children, (ii) the extent to which degree of bilingualism affects performance, and (iii) the specific patterns of errors across groups. The participants in this study include 16 children with SLI and 16 typically developing children (TD) matched on age, English language proficiency, and mother’s education level. Bilingual children are classified either as Spanish-dominant children with intermediate English proficiency (asymmetrical bilinguals, AsyBi) or near-balanced bilinguals (BalBi). The experimental task consists of a sentence-completion exercise eliciting the subjunctive in complement, purpose, and temporal clauses. Results suggest that (i) level of bilingual proficiency, language clinical status, and age predicts the accurate production of the subjunctive; and (ii) temporal clauses might have a better potential to discriminate between TD children and children with SLI in bilingual settings. This study provides general support for grammatically targeted approaches to assessment in bilingual populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-84
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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