Archive for category vocabulary
We’re very excited to let everyone know that now, after a number of years of development and testing the BESA is available to speech-language pathologists.
WHAT IS THE BESA? WHAT DOES IT DO?
My co-authors and I developed the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment (BESA) in response to a critical need for valid, reliable instruments to assessment of speech and language ability in Spanish-English bilingual children. It focuses on children (ages 4 years, 0 months through 6 years, 11 months) who have varying levels of Spanish-English bilingualism. BESA was specifically developed to determine if speech and/or language errors observed in some young children were due to limited exposure to English or to a language impairment. We know that with time, children with typical development will learn a second language. But, at the same time, early intervention for children who have speech and language impairment is critical. Read the rest of this entry »
Across both these posts, presentations, chapters and journal articles, I often say that we need to test children in both of their languages. I think that many of us know that. The question however is what do you do with that information once you’ve obtained it. Read the rest of this entry »
Accurate assessment of bilingual children is a challenge for educators including speech-language pathologists all over the world. When children have exposure to more than one language it might be difficult to know if low language and reading scores are due to lack of enough experience in the language tested or if these are indicative of a language impairment or language based reading delay. A number of research groups all over the world have been working on this problem for a number of years. Three years ago I participated in a workshop on bilingualism in Wales. A two-volume book, in part, is the current product of that workshop. For those who buy the pair, currently there is a discount offered. Read the rest of this entry »
Last month I posted saying I was working on the validity analyses for the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment (BESA) that is hopefully soon to be published and available for clinicians. Today, I’ll tell you a little about the results. As many of you know, a number of years ago we (Vera Gutierrez-Clellen, Aquiles Iglesias, and I) got an NIH contract to explore typical and atypical speech and language development in Spanish-English bilingual children. Brian Goldstein and Lisa Bedore joined our team about a year later. The results of the 7 year project were to have a measure that would identify bilingual children with language impairment and phonological impairment. Read the rest of this entry »
In a paper we published last year, we examined how bilingual children with and without language impairment performed on a repeated associations task. We’d found that children with impairment has lower semantic depth scores even after we controlled for their vocabulary size. Also, their conceptual scores were higher than single language scores which tell us that bilinguals make different associations within each of their languages for the same things. One thing we’d observed in the paper was that it seemed that children with language impairment came up with different items compared to those with typical development. Our recently published paper explores this further examining the original data more closely. Read the rest of this entry »
I’d mentioned last week that I was starting to learn more about codeswitching through collaborative research with Kai Greene. We have a new paper in Child Language Teaching & Therapy where we explore the use of code-mixing in children with and without language impairment. We were interested in how many kids switched to their other language during testing, if their switching was related to language dominance, and how successful they were when they did switch. Read the rest of this entry »
The short answer is yes. But, the longer answer is more interesting I think. It’s well-known that we can understand more words than we can express. Generally though, there are strong associations between receptive and expressive language, the more words you understand the more words you can express. We see normal receptive-expressive gaps in early language development, later development, as well as in mature learners. As adults, there are words that we can recognize by context in reading for example, but don’t use them expressively or don’t consistently recall them. On standardized tests however, these inherent differences between the two kinds of tasks are controlled. We can compare performance on expressive and receptive tasks through use of standardized scores often using a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. Large receptive-expressive discrepancies where receptive knowledge is much stronger than expressive knowledge can be an indicator of language impairment. How does this work in bilinguals?
It’s interesting to understand bilingual language acquisition in the context of existing theories. This helps to better understand and interpret findings, and how well findings fit (or don’t) a theory helps to refine it. When there is an accumulation of findings that fit well, then we can better predict what might be going on even if there is little data.
I got into research in part because I was curious in lexical organization in bilinguals and in bilingual language impairment. Sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten distracted doing other kinds of work. So, it’s kinda fun to get back to something that I feel has gotten neglected.
How do children learn and organize their vocabulary? As children learn new words, they have to compare them with the words they already know. Words might sound the same but have different meanings (e.g., hoarse vs. horse). They also can compare words by category (e.g., chair, sofa) and function (e.g., cup, drink). These comparisons help children to make associations among words, and this helps children build their vocabulary knowledge. For bilinguals, it’s not so different, but the comparisons are made within languages and across languages. Across languages, children need to make connections among words that sound the same and have the same (e.g., velocity, velocidad) and different (e.g., contest, contestar (answer)) meanings. Bilinguals need to associate translation equivalents (e.g., dog, perro). And they need to keep word classes (e.g., nouns, verbs, adjectives) straight within each language. Read the rest of this entry »