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Quantifying phonological representation abilities in Spanish-speaking preschool children



Individual differences in abilities to form, access, and hone phonological representations of words are implicated in the development of oral and written language. This study addressed three important gaps in the literature concerning measurement of individual differences in phonological representation. First, we empirically examined the dimensionality of phonological representation abilities. Second, we empirically compared how well typical measures index various representation-related phonological processing abilities. Third, we supply data on Spanish phonological representation abilities of incipient Spanish–English bilingual children to address the need for information on phonological representation across languages. Specifically, nine measures of accessibility to and precision of phonological presentations were administered to 129 preschool children in the United States. Confirmatory factor analyses validated three separate but correlated a priori phonological processing abilities, that is, efficiency of accessing phonological codes, precision of phonological codes as reflected in speech production, and precision of phonological codes as reflected in speech perception. Most prototypic measures were strong indicators of their respective representation-related phonological ability. We discuss how the current data in Spanish compares to limited data in English, and the implications for the organization of phonological representations abilities.


Corresponding author

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Jason L. Anthony, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Learning Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center, 7000 Fannin Street, Suite 2377, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail:


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Applied Psycholinguistics
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