Posts Tagged children

Can Semantics Testing be used to Determine Language Impairment in Bilinguals?

As you know, there is a lack of appropriate standardized instruments to appropriately determine language impairment in bilingual children. We have made strides though in assessment Spanish-English bilinguals, which is the biggest bilingual group of kids here in the US especially in the area of morphosyntax. Work by BedoreRestrepo, Gutierrez-Clellen, demonstrates the kinds of errors that Spanish speaker and bilingual Spanish-English speakers with language impairment make. But, there isn’t quite as much in the area of semantics. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

, , , , , , ,

2 Comments

Too bad 30 years ago

I participated in a twitter chat on Latino Early Childhood with @LatinoUSA and @spanglishbaby to talk #bilingualkids. Most participants, as expected, were bilingual Spanish-English speakers, proud to raise their children in a supporting bilingual environment. They emphasized the advantages of bilingualism: cognitive and socio-emotional skills, tolerance and openness, traditions and family. Plus the obvious: speaking two languages!
I was also happy to read that language use and opportunities to hear and speak Spanish seriously concern parents. They want to make sure they “resist” the period in which their own children appear to prefer English. They shared some nice anecdotes about children changing their minds as they get older, children becoming proud of their bilingualism. One mom said “¡No hay que tirar la toalla!”
Interestingly, one participant sent this tweet:
Curious to hear medical opinions. My cousin was told her son was beginning to stutter speaking both.
9:53 AM – 21 Jan 2015
I was surprised by, first, the desire to hear a medical opinion, and, second, by the hypothesis that bilingualism would cause a speech impairment. Other participants referred to bilingual research in their comments. This participant, however, wanted to hear from a medical doctor. Why would he assume a medical doctor knows more about bilingual development than experts? In addition, I sound naïve, but this is the first time I clearly read a worrisome admonition of bilingualism. I twitted this person to consult with a BILINGUAL speech-language pathologist. He responded the following:
Too bad 30 years ago that was the medical opinion. It was ridiculous.
10:53 AM – 21 Jan 2015
My heart sank. I cannot imagine how his cousin felt when she heard that doctor’s comment. I am so grateful to be part of a community and a profession that is changing, becoming more tolerant, and moving forward.

, , ,

2 Comments

BESA Fan Page

We made a BESA fan page: https://www.facebook.com/besabilingual

BESA coverWhen the test is ready to pre-order, when it’s published, or when we have other news we’ll post in the fan page. So, like it and you’ll be able to keep up with what’s going on with the BESA.

 

 

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Second language learners in Utah

I am on my way home from teaching a two day seminar at the University of Utah Collage of Health. We covered a lot of ground in two days. From culture to contrasts between languages; bilingualism, assessment, and intervention. I learned a lot and the grad students were great. Nice discussions, creative applications of the principles we studied and good detective work. Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Semantic Associations in Bilingual Children with Language Impairment

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 »

, , , , , , , ,

5 Comments

Research, Policy, and Education on English Learners

One of the interesting and fun benefits of doing research on a given topic is that you get asked to consult. Like most academics I often review papers, grant proposals, theses and so on. These are really interesting and I usually learn a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work and it takes hours and hours of time (usually over and above my time in my job– teaching and doing research)– but, this is a part of the job as well. I enjoy getting to meet and interact with other researchers and practitioners who are interested in many of the same issues I focus on in my work. It’s nice to know I’m not alone and that other folks are grappling with some of the same challenges.

I’m currently on the technical work group for the Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners (CECER: DLL). Dina Castro is the Principal Investigator and Director of the project. I haven’t been able to go to the meetings for one reason or another (the meetings are once a year). But, I have been able to keep up with what’s going on via e-mail and review of materials. One of the outcomes of the working group has been a series of research briefs. Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

1 Comment

One Language One Clinician?

When I spoke at the FLASH seminar at UT Dallas in January, Anne van Kleeck asked if it mattered whether clinicians let bilingual children know they were bilingual. I’m not really sure what the answer is, and it’s one of those questions that I continued to think about after I got back to Austin. Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

A Little Knowledge can be Dangerous—and Stupid

Okay, so I’m going to bitch and moan. Skip this if you don’t want to hear it, but I can’t help myself. Every time that I start to think that people out there are more aware of language development, bilingualism, bilingual language impairment and so on, I get confirmation that no, that’s not the case. Don’t be stupid. That’s all I ask. Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

1 Comment

Maggie Funk: Why can’t we get bilingual education right? | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Opinion: Viewpoints

Maggie Funk: Why can’t we get bilingual education right? | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Opinion: Viewpoints

Why indeed? If we know that there are better second language alternatives than English only then wouldn’t logic dictate that we use them? This is a constant frustration to me that folks pay more attention to opinion (and much seems to be paranoid, reactive, illogical opinion) than to facts. At least when it comes to bilingual education. If I hear one more time the story that, “well, my grandfather came to this country and learned English with no help, or bilingual education” I will SCREAM.

I think that more people need to look at the facts before deciding what works and what doesn’t. And the facts can’t be based on anecdotes but on larger n, prospective research. Anecdotes are too easy to distort. AGHHHH. Okay, I screamed– couldn’t help it.

Posted using ShareThis

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Another Year

I started this blog a year ago on Christmas. We were in Wisconsin and everyone was sick. This year no one is sick and the one family accident we had turned out okay (though it could have been tragic– a helmet saved a life and we’re thankful for that, so wear those helmets!).

My dad died 3 years ago– I miss him. I’ve read that in Mexican tradition the third and final death is when you are no longer remembered. But, how can I forget? My parents are part of who I am– they are a part of me. My dad had qualities that I wish I had. I hope that some part rubbed off on me, but there we are different too. He was outgoing. He could strike up a conversation with anyone. I’m terrible at that, I’m most comfortable with people I know and have a terrible time talking to people I don’t know. But, I do manage to get through lectures and through talks at conferences. Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment