Archive for January, 2009

Narrative Tasks in Bilingual Aphasia

Here is a conundrum:

If there are other researchers out there collecting narrative data from adult bilinguals, please provide your input.

For patients with bilingual aphasia, would  you:

(a) use narrative tasks that have been normed on adult bilingual adults or bilingual children (e.g., Frog where are you?) and try to extend them aphasia?


(b) use narrative tasks that have been normed on adult aphasic patients (e.g., Cinderella) and extend the sample to bilingual adults.


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Beyond Words & Grammar: Learning English as a Second Language

I came across this article last night in the Wichita Eagle. It’s about the need for more English as a second language (ESL) teachers in the U.S. The article points out a need both for teachers and for methods in teaching ESL. Challenges to teaching many of these children is their previous level of education, focus on both academic courses that they need and language skills. A focus on only English language skills won’t necessarily Read the rest of this entry »

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How to measure proficiency: More questions than answers here

In research as well as in educational and other settings the question of linguistic proficiency is critical. This question is something that I continually struggle with in working with children. How proficient is proficient enough? What does it mean? What should we measure? I’ve been influenced by my own clinical background and the work of other researchers in this area. Read the rest of this entry »

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Translation Equivalents– are they?

So, I was talking to my sister the other day. She’s a school psychologist and is  interested in this issue of conceptual scoring that I discussed before. We talked about how single language scoring might underestimate what kids know. For this reason conceptual scoring might be a way to go. I think that conceptual scoring can be applied to other domains beyond vocabulary, such as math or science. The focus would be on knowledge rather than on the language that the knowledge is coded in. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spanish Speech Sound Changes (when English is introduced)

Okay, so phonology isn’t my strong suit– probably it isn’t my suit at all, but I have participated in a couple of such studies in collaboration with researchers who know more about this than me. Nonetheless, I’m interested in how children use what they know about one language to bootstrap their way into another language and phonological learning provides another way to look at that.

We (Gildersleeve-Neumann, Peña, Davis, & Kester) have an article coming out this year in Bilingualism: Language & Cognition. We examined Spanish speaking children in a Head Start setting. The 6 children in this study were between the ages of 3 and 4 (an average of 3 years 5 months) at the beginning of the school year and only spoke Spanish. In preschool, they were exposed to both English and Spanish. At the beginning of preschool they could produce all the Spanish vowels, most of the consonants and consonant combinations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Testing Bilingual Children

I’m frequently asked how bilingual children should be tested– that is, how both languages should be considered in language assessment. Here, I’m going to focus on assessment of vocabulary. Read the rest of this entry »

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