Cross-Linguistic Cognate Production in Spanish–English Bilingual Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment Purpose Bilinguals tend to produce cognates (e.g., telephone in English and teléfono in Spanish) more accurately than they produce noncognates (table/mesa). We tested whether the same holds for bilingual children with specific language impairment (SLI). Method Participants included Spanish–English bilingual children (aged 5;0 to 9;11 [years;months]), 25 with ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 15, 2018
Cross-Linguistic Cognate Production in Spanish–English Bilingual Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stephanie M. Grasso
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Elizabeth D. Peña
    School of Education, The University of California, Irvine
  • Lisa M. Bedore
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • J. Gregory Hixon
    Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Zenzi M. Griffin
    Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Disclosure: Dr. Peña and Dr. Bedore are the authors of the Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment and receive royalties from the sale of this assessment.
    Disclosure: Dr. Peña and Dr. Bedore are the authors of the Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment and receive royalties from the sale of this assessment.×
  • Correspondence to Stephanie M. Grasso: smgrasso@utexas.edu
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Jan de Jong
    Associate Editor: Jan de Jong×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 15, 2018
Cross-Linguistic Cognate Production in Spanish–English Bilingual Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 619-633. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0421
History: Received November 6, 2016 , Revised April 11, 2017 , Accepted October 19, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 619-633. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0421
History: Received November 6, 2016; Revised April 11, 2017; Accepted October 19, 2017

Purpose Bilinguals tend to produce cognates (e.g., telephone in English and teléfono in Spanish) more accurately than they produce noncognates (table/mesa). We tested whether the same holds for bilingual children with specific language impairment (SLI).

Method Participants included Spanish–English bilingual children (aged 5;0 to 9;11 [years;months]), 25 with SLI and 92 without, who had comparable language experience. Cognate and noncognate items were taken from English and Spanish versions of the Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test (Brownell, 2000, 2001).

Results Although bilingual children with language impairment named fewer items correctly overall, they accurately named cognates more often than noncognates, as did typically developing children. Independent of language ability, accurate naming of a cognate in one language strongly predicted accurate naming in the other language.

Conclusion Language impairment appears unrelated to the mechanism that produces a cognate advantage in naming accuracy. Given that correct performance for a difficult word in one language is associated with knowing its cognate in another, cognates may be particularly viable targets for language intervention in bilingual children with SLI.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Grant R01 DC010366 from the National Institute on Deafness and Communicative Disorders, awarded to Elizabeth Peña (PI), Lisa Bedore (co-PI), & Zenzi M. Griffin (co-PI).
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