Posts Tagged child
I’m at the airport in Washington DC after participating in a workshop at tha NIH on dual language learners. We talked about the state of the art. What’s cool is that there has been so much progress. We know that bilingualism isn’t bad for you and that in fact it could be good for you. We have better ideas about how to diagnose bilinguals with language impairment. At least in some languages. We know about what works for Spanish and English. We have emerging data for Mandarin-English and Vietnamese-English as well as other language pairs. We have an emerging picture about bilingual development in two languages.
But, there’s still a lot we don’t know. We don’t fully understand how changes in the linguistic environment affect child performance on language measures. We still don’t have a God handle in intervention for bilinguals with langquge impairment. Do we treat in one language or both? Do we use translanguaging approaches?
I don’t think we fully understand how bilingualism affects the brain. Nor do we know how the environment shapes the brains of children with language impairment.
We heard about reading disorder and mechanisms associated with dyslexia. Children can and do learn to read in two languages but we don’t really understand how those languages interact and how languages that have different writing systems interact in the bilingual brain.
Even though we’ve made progress in identification of impairment we don’t do such a great job across languages and at all ages.
So we know a lot we have a ways to go
It is well known that different languages have different phonological structures. Some have lots of sounds put together in certain ways, other languages have fewer sounds and these go together perhaps in other ways. Comparing Spanish and English is interesting in the US context because Spanish is the second most common language after English. The majority of English language learners in the US speak Spanish as a first language. Read the rest of this entry »
Bilingual children, whether they’re sequential or simultaneous bilinguals have divided input. In their every day experiences. Because of this, they often know some words in their L1 and other words in their L2; some words (but not ALL) they know in both. There are a number of studies that shows this for children at different ages.
This is the title of Alexandra Sabater’s post in the Dallas news opinion blog. She writes eloquently about the benefits of bilingual education from her perspective as a teacher. It got me thinking about beliefs about bilingual education for children who have language impairment.
We have a new article published in Early Childhood Services called, Cognates Facilitate Word Recognition in Young Spanish-English Bilinguals’ Test Performance (Perez, Peña, & Bedore, 2010). This is part of a study funded by the NIH called Diagnostic Markers of Language Impairment. In this study, we’re trying to identify the combination of markers that best identify bilingual children who have language impairment. One of the tests that we use in the study is the TOLD-P:3. Early in the study Anita Perez noticed that children who were Spanish dominant seemed to do well on cognate items on the receptive vocabulary subtest of the TOLD which is given only in English. We decided to explore this question further by giving the next group of kids participating on the project all the items from that subtest. That way we could have item data of the same set of items for a group of kiddos. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m doubtful. What can I say. But, every time I turn around it seems that yet another school district is cutting bilingual education. For me, it doesn’t add up. The most recent story I saw is one in Florida where Orange County Schools will cut programs for more than 1,000 children. Officials are said to have cited class size and time allowed for special language programs.
We have a fairly new article accepted for publication in the International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. Even though it’s not yet published it’s available through the Journal’s forthcoming articles list.
As part of an NIH funded project, we screened about 750 children (actually we now have screened 1200 kiddos, but when we wrote the article were still in the process of screening so the analysis is based on the numbers to that point–still it’s a lot of kids). We developed a screener based on the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment that we’d previously worked on. The screener is called the Bilingual English Spanish Oral Screening (get it? get it??). It takes about 15-20 minutes to give in both languages (compared to the full version of the test this is about 1/4 of the time). The BESOS includes morphosyntax and semantics sections. If you want to know more about the development of the BESA (from which the BESOS is derived see here and here for morphosyntax; and here for semantics. (And yes, the BESA (but not the screener) includes phonology and pragmatics).
Anyway, in this study we gave the screener to all the kids regardless of whether they thought they didn’t know English or Spanish. Children were preschool and kindergarten age (between 4;6 and 5;6). We did stop testing a subsection if they gave us no response to 5 items in a row (we’re not totally cruel, it’s just that sometimes kids know more than they think– more than their parents and teachers think too!). We were interested in seeing what factors were associated with knowing something, anything in a language. We also wanted to know what factors were associated with higher scores. Read the rest of this entry »
I am the child of immigrants. Like many children growing up in dual language environments, I grew up speaking a home language (Spanish) and although I knew some English, I learned most of my English in school– starting in kindergarten. My mother in fact says we learned English together. As a child I quickly became aware that the English spoken by my parents and that spoken by the rest of the world was not the same. Today, I came across this article in SF Gate where Jeff Yang talked about conversations with his mother-in-law in context of reading two popular blogs: my mom is a fob and my dad is a fob. I laughed and I cried, what can I say. These are exactly the kinds of interactions I’ve had with my parents and continue to have with my mom. Malapropisms, eggcorns, and spoonerisms— I had to have a whole dictionary for what my parents meant. But, through it all parents convey that they love their children and that they care. While the two fob sites draw on examples of Asian moms and dads– let me tell you this stuff isn’t limited to Asian parents! There are so many wonderful examples of exactly the kinds of interactions I had with my parents (okay, the accents and words were different but with the same kinds of slips and intents). Read the rest of this entry »
We completed this study a couple of years ago but it always takes some time to get things written up and then submitted and so on. Sometimes it’s a bit frustrating that the process takes so long. There are lots of papers I see at conferences that I might wait a couple of years before I see the full paper in print. It’s the same with our stuff of course, sometimes what we present at a conference is only one analysis or is with fewer participants than the final paper. The revision process usually helps to focus and strengthen the paper, but that also takes time.
Anyway, this is a long introduction to writing about a paper by Summers, Bohman, Gillam, Peña, & Bedore titled “Bilingual performance on nonword repetition in Spanish and English” in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. In this paper we tested bilingual children on nonword repetition tasks in both their languages. We also tested some kids on the monolingual end of the continuum on both sets of words. The words we used are those developed by Dollaghan & Campbell (for English) and Janet Calderon (for Spanish). Read the rest of this entry »