Developmental patterns of English grammar at various levels of language experience in bilingual children

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2013-05

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Abstract

The largest group of English language learners in the United States is comprised individuals who speak Spanish as a first language. There is a growing need for speech-language pathologists to better understand the language development of children learning two languages in order to distinguish between typical and disordered communication with this population. For monolingual English speakers, rate of grammatical morpheme acquisition is typically predicted based on MLU. In bilingual children, current language use has been determined to be a potentially more useful predictor of language performance. The purpose of this study was to determine English grammatical morpheme performance for English-Spanish bilingual preschool-age children based on their language exposure. Data was drawn from two existing data sets that included a total of 314 children. Their performance on the BESA was analyzed for grammatical morphemes in English. Interviews were conducted to determine language use and exposure. We present patterns of English grammatical morpheme acquisition in bilingual children as related to current language use.

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