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Dónde está la ball? Examining the effect of code switching on bilingual children's word recognition

  • Giovanna MORINI (a1) and Rochelle S. NEWMAN (a2)


Hearing words in sentences facilitates word recognition in monolingual children. Many children grow up receiving input in multiple languages – including exposure to sentences that ‘mix’ the languages. We explored Spanish–English bilingual toddlers’ (n = 24) ability to identify familiar words in three conditions: (i) single word (ball!); (ii) same-language sentence (Where's the ball?); or (iii) mixed-language sentence (Dónde está la ball?). Children successfully identified words across conditions; however, the advantage linked to hearing words in sentences was present only in the same-language condition. This work hence suggests that language mixing plays an important role on bilingual children's ability to recognize spoken words.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: University of Delaware, Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, 100 Discovery Blvd., Room 533, Newark, DE, 19713. E-mail:


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