Predicting Spanish–English Bilingual Children’s Language Abilities PurposeIn this study, the authors investigated factors that affect bilingual children’s vocabulary and story recall abilities in their 2 languages.MethodParticipants included 191 Latino families and their children, who averaged 59 months of age. Data on parental characteristics and children’s exposure to and usage of Spanish and English were collected. The ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2012
Predicting Spanish–English Bilingual Children’s Language Abilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Eugene Komaroff
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Barbara L. Rodriguez
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Lisa M. Lopez
    University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Shelley E. Scarpino
    The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Galloway
  • Brian Goldstein
    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • Correspondence to Carol Scheffner Hammer:carol.hammer@temple.edu
  • Shelley E. Scarpino is now with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.
    Shelley E. Scarpino is now with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.×
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Lisa Bedore
    Associate Editor: Lisa Bedore×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language
Article   |   October 01, 2012
Predicting Spanish–English Bilingual Children’s Language Abilities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2012, Vol. 55, 1251-1264. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0016)
History: Received January 17, 2011 , Accepted January 22, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2012, Vol. 55, 1251-1264. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0016)
History: Received January 17, 2011; Accepted January 22, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 45

PurposeIn this study, the authors investigated factors that affect bilingual children’s vocabulary and story recall abilities in their 2 languages.

MethodParticipants included 191 Latino families and their children, who averaged 59 months of age. Data on parental characteristics and children’s exposure to and usage of Spanish and English were collected. The authors assessed children’s Spanish and English vocabulary and story recall abilities using subtests of the Woodcock–Muñoz Language Survey—Revised (Woodcock, Muñoz-Sandoval, Ruef, & Alvarado, 2005).

ResultsSizeable percentages of variation in children’s English (R2 = .61) and Spanish (R2 = .55) vocabulary scores were explained by children’s exposure to, and usage of, each language and maternal characteristics. Similarly, variations in children’s story recall scores in English (R2 = .38) and Spanish (R2 = .19) were also explained by the factors considered in this investigation. However, the authors found that different sets of factors in each category affected children’s vocabulary and story recall abilities in each language.

ConclusionsChildren’s exposure to and usage of their two languages as well as maternal characteristics play significant roles in bilingual individuals' language development. The results highlight the importance of gathering detailed sociolinguistic information about bilingual children when these children are involved in research and when they enter the educational system.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Grant R01-HD051542-06 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Department of Education, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. We also wish to acknowledge the significant contributions of our dear colleague, Adele W. Miccio, who passed away in 2009.
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