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Rethinking the Linguistic Threshold Hypothesis: Modeling the Linguistic Threshold among young Spanish–English Bilinguals



This study uses a discontinuous-linear regression methodological approach to test the Linguistic Threshold Hypothesis (LTH). Specifically, we investigate the following hypotheses: (1) the rate of transfer of literacy skills from L1 to L2 is a function of L2 oral language ability, (2) the rate of transfer from L1 to L2 accelerates when students cross a specified threshold(s) of L2 language oral ability, and (3) discontinuous change-point regression models fit the data better than linear regression interaction models. Across literacy skills, discontinuous change-point regression models revealed levels of L2 oral language at which transfer from L1 to L2 literacy was maximized, suggesting that the relationship between L2 language and cross-linguistic transfer is not constant for the young Spanish–English bilinguals in our study. Further, discontinuous change-point regression models fit the data better than linear interaction models, suggesting the importance of using models that better match the theoretical assumptions underpinning the LTH.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr. Erika Feinauer, Brigham Young University, 206K MCKB, Provo, UT 84602,


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