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Academic Paper


Title: The measure matters: Language dominance profiles across measures in Spanish–English bilingual children
Author: Lisa M Bedore
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Author: Elizabeth D. Peña
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Author: Connie L. Summers
Institution: University of Texas at El Paso
Author: Karin M. Boerger
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Author: Maria D. Resendiz
Institution: Texas State University-San Marcos
Author: Kai Greene
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Author: Thomas M. Bohman
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Author: Ronald B Gillam
Institution: Utah State University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Spanish
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine if different language measures resulted in the same classifications of language dominance and proficiency for a group of bilingual pre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners. Data were analyzed for 1029 Spanish–English bilingual pre-kindergarteners who spanned the full range of bilingual language proficiency. Parent questionnaires were used to quantify age of first exposure and current language use. Scores from a short test of semantic and morphosyntactic development in Spanish and English were used to quantify children's performance. Some children who were in the functionally monolingual range based on interview data demonstrated minimal knowledge of their other languages when tested. Current use accounted for more of the variance in language dominance than did age of first exposure. Results indicate that at different levels of language exposure children differed in their performance on semantic and morphosyntax tasks. These patterns suggest that it may be difficult to compare the results of studies that employ different measures of language dominance and proficiency. Current use is likely to be a useful metric of bilingual development that can be used to build a comprehensive picture of child bilingualism.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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