Posts Tagged words

Testing in Two Languages

When we test bilingual children we need to be able to do so in both of their languages. We can to look at speech and language in each of their two languages and we use this information to determine if their language production is like that of their typical (bilingual peers).

In the area of lexical-semantics we know that children who have exposure to two languages often show patterns of lexical knowledge consistent with their divided exposure. They may know home words in the home language and school words in the second language. It makes it difficult to test in only one language, but how do we take account of both their languages?

One of the observations we’ve made in many years of testing bilingual kids is that it is difficult at times for them to switch between languages– especially when they’ve been using English in diagnostics. This doesn’t mean of course that kids don’t codeswitch, they do and they do so during testing, but switching between languages on demand is hard.

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Weaker Links and Missing Days

Okay, I know this probably isn’t what Gollan has in mind when she writes about weaker links. But, I couldn’t help but relate the story of the French-English bilingual calendars which were accidentally printed with a day missing– Saturday (in English) to be exact. The weak links hypothesis is the idea that because bilinguals need to know more words (words in L1 and L2) they divide their attention and practice between them. Knowing more words leads to less practice with each word. So, the subtle differences in bilinguals’ performance (in comparison to monolinguals) may be due to using words with less frequency. You can read more about this here. Anyway, here the calendar makers had to handle twice as many words (7 vs. 14). In trying to handle 14 (instead of the usual 7) they lost one (oops). Read the rest of this entry »

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