Semantic Convergence in Spanish–English Bilingual Children With Primary Language Impairment Purpose To examine the degree of convergence in word association responses produced by bilingual children with primary language impairment (PLI) in relation to bilingual age peers. Method Thirty-seven Spanish–English bilingual children with PLI, 37 typically developing (TD) controls, and a normative sample of 112 children produced associations to ... Research Note
Research Note  |   April 01, 2013
Semantic Convergence in Spanish–English Bilingual Children With Primary Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Li Sheng
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Lisa M. Bedore
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Elizabeth D. Peña
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Casey Taliancich-Klinger
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Correspondence to Li Sheng: li.sheng@mail.utexas.edu
  • Editor: Anne Smith
    Editor: Anne Smith×
  • Associate Editor: Kathryn Kohnert
    Associate Editor: Kathryn Kohnert×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Language / Research Note
Research Note   |   April 01, 2013
Semantic Convergence in Spanish–English Bilingual Children With Primary Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 766-777. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0271)
History: Received October 4, 2011 , Revised April 14, 2012 , Accepted August 15, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 766-777. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0271)
History: Received October 4, 2011; Revised April 14, 2012; Accepted August 15, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose To examine the degree of convergence in word association responses produced by bilingual children with primary language impairment (PLI) in relation to bilingual age peers.

Method Thirty-seven Spanish–English bilingual children with PLI, 37 typically developing (TD) controls, and a normative sample of 112 children produced associations to 24 English and Spanish words. The 5 most frequent responses for each stimulus were identified for the normative sample; then the frequency of occurrence of these frequent normative responses was tabulated and compared between the PLI and TD groups.

Results Children with PLI generated fewer frequent normative responses than their TD peers. Spearman rank correlations revealed that the rank frequency of responses in the normative group was significantly correlated with that of the TD and PLI groups; however, in English, the correlation was stronger for the TD cohort. Cross-language associations were also revealed in the generation of frequent norming responses.

Conclusions Semantic convergence is determined by multiple factors. Reduced production of frequent normative responses and weakened correlation with group association behavior in English suggest that children with PLI were delayed in converging on a central core of semantic knowledge that is characteristic of bilingual children with typical language skills.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant R21HD53223. We are grateful to the families who participated in the study. We wish to thank all of the interviewers and testers for their assistance with collecting the data for this project and the school districts for allowing us access to collect the data.
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