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Interactions between bilingual effects and language impairment: Exploring grammatical markers in Spanish-speaking bilingual children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2015

ANNY P. CASTILLA-EARLS
Affiliation:
University of Houston
MARÍA ADELAIDA RESTREPO
Affiliation:
Arizona State University
ANA TERESA PÉREZ-LEROUX
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
SHELLEY GRAY
Affiliation:
Arizona State University
PAUL HOLMES
Affiliation:
Ashland University
DANIEL GAIL
Affiliation:
SUNY Buffalo
ZIQIANG CHEN
Affiliation:
SUNY Buffalo
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

This study examines the interaction between language impairment and different levels of bilingual proficiency. Specifically, we explore the potential of articles and direct object pronouns as clinical markers of primary language impairment (PLI) in bilingual Spanish-speaking children. The study compared children with PLI and typically developing (TD) children matched on age, English language proficiency, and mother's education level. Two types of bilinguals were targeted: Spanish-dominant children with intermediate English proficiency (asymmetrical bilinguals), and near-balanced bilinguals. We measured children's accuracy in the use of direct object pronouns and articles with an elicited language task. Results from this preliminary study suggest language proficiency affects the patterns of use of direct object pronouns and articles. Across language proficiency groups, we find marked differences between TD and PLI, in the use of both direct object pronouns and articles. However, the magnitude of the difference diminishes in balanced bilinguals. Articles appear more stable in these bilinguals and, therefore, seem to have a greater potential to discriminate between TD bilinguals from those with PLI. Future studies using discriminant analyses are needed to assess the clinical impact of these findings.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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