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Examination of monolingual (English) and bilingual (English/Spanish; English/Urdu) children's syntactic awareness

  • Denise DAVIDSON (a1), Sandra B. VANEGAS (a2), Elizabeth HILVERT (a1), Vanessa R. RAINEY (a3) and Ieva MISIUNAITE (a1)...


In this study, monolingual (English) and bilingual (English/Spanish, English/Urdu) five- and six-year-old children completed a grammaticality judgment test in order to assess their awareness of the grammaticality of two types of syntactic constructions in English: word order and gender representation. All children were better at detecting grammatically correct and incorrect word order constructions than gender constructions, regardless of language group. In fact, bilingualism per se did not impact the results as much as receptive vocabulary range. For example, children with the highest receptive vocabulary scores were more accurate in detecting incorrect word order constructions (i.e., word order violations, semantic anomalies) and incorrect gender agreement than children in the lower receptive vocabulary ranges. However, no differences were found between the ranges for ambiguous gender constructions. These results highlight the importance of receptive vocabulary ability on syntactic awareness performance, regardless of language group.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Department of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, ILUSA. e-mail:


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