Posts Tagged bilingual
Last June, I gave a keynote on dynamic assessment at SRCLD and presented recently analyzed data using DA with bilingual kindergarteners. We are currently in the process of writing the paper on this and hope to submit it soon for publication. If all goes well with the review and revision process maybe in a year it’ll be accepted and then a few months after that before it is available. Meanwhile however, we’re not the only ones to take on this question. So, here’s a summary of what I’ve found recently. 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?
So, I don’t know much about codeswitching, but I’ve been forced to learn more about it because one of my students, the recently graduated Dr. Kai Greene is really interested in the topic. So, he’s taught me a lot. Anyway, some things that are interesting about these switches is that it takes skill. Kids may switch to fill in a word if they don’t know it in the language they are using, but they almost always use it correctly– so, a noun for a noun, a verb for a verb. This means they have to know a lot about both languages in order to monitor both. Indeed, those who are most bilingual, we’ve found are the most skilled, and switching tends to be directional. This means that children who are dominant in one language will switch more often when using their weaker or non-dominant language. Also, code-switching is not an indicator of language impairment.
So, why this random post on codeswitching? Read the rest of this entry »
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.
From time to time (should be more often) I”m reminded of why I do the work I do. It’s so easy to get caught up with thinking about getting out the next paper, the details of the job, getting ready for presentations, teaching and so on that I loose sight of what I’m doing ultimately. What I aim to do is to make a difference in the every day lives of kids who are bilingual.
Today I got an e-mail from a bilingual SLP who had read a post written by Lisa Bedore and me in the Asha Leader, in which we argue that bilingual children need to be tested in both languages because they so often have “mixed” dominance. In my e-mail, the SLP wanted to know what measure we used to measure dominance and stated that in her district county officials wanted “score and numbers” in order to determine dominance. It’s so great when I learn someone is actually reading this work and trying to apply it in practice. This is exactly what keeps me going, especially on days that I’m feeling like I’m putting out this stuff and no one cares. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I participated in a round table meeting for the Center for Early Care and Education Research – Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL). It was a lot of fun and the participant list read like a who’s who in bilingual language acquisition– so it was really great and I got to learn a lot. Read the rest of this entry »
So, I’m headed out to Hawaii– Oahu more specifically to teach the second half of a course at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, CSD department. I know it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. My colleague Lisa Bedore, taught the first half of the course (we did run into each other at SRCLD– which was amazing, but that’s another post).
What are the languages of Hawaii? Well, not Spanish, although some 2.6% of residents speak Spanish. In addition to English, Tagalog is a language that 5.6% of the resident speak. This is followed by Japanese (4.96%) and Ilocano (4.05%). Hawaiian is one of the states official languages (the other being English) but fewer than .1 of the residents speak Hawaiian as a native langauge.
One of the questions that we often ask ourselves when doing bilingual research and when conducting bilingual assessment is how to describe and characterize children’s bilingualism. This question is important for making educational decisions that involve language of instruction. For assessment and diagnosis of speech and language impairment it is critical that we document children’s bilingual profiles. But, it’s not as easy as we would like. We explore some of these issues in an article that appears in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. Read the rest of this entry »
So last time I posted on the blog, I talked about how we know a lot more this year. We’ve learned so much more about bilingualism and the positive effects of bilingualism on children’s learning on preservation of language capabilities for people as they age. At the time I wrote that I was feeling rather pessimistic but I ended up writing a post that was optimistic. So today I’m going to touch on the pessimistic side. Read the rest of this entry »
Most posts I’ve seen reflecting on the past year seem optimistic. And there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. We do know more, and in the bilingualism area in particular there seems to be more awareness of the positive consequences of bilingualism. In aging, bilingualism seems to stave off Alzheimer’s disease. While the reasons for this is not entirely understood, one possibility is that the constantly moving back and forth between two languages enhances the ability to make choices between the two. This practice helps make the brain more efficient. Other theories point to development of more connections in the brain due to bilingualism. These connections form a cognitive reserve that helps to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms.