Language dimensionality in Spanish-English bilingual children




Lugo-Neris, Mirza Jeannette

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The purpose of the current study was to characterize the relationships across languages and domains on a variety of linguistic tasks for a sample of school-aged Spanish-English (SE) bilingual children. Data for 164 bilingual second and fourth graders were analyzed and included the following measures (in Spanish and English): semantics and morphosyntax subtests of the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment - Middle Extension (BESAME; Peña, Bedore, Iglesias, Gutiérrez-Clellen, Goldstein, in development), the Test of Narrative Language (TNL; Gillam & Pearson, 2004; Gillam, Peña, Bedore, & Pearson, in development), and the Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test (EOWPVT; Brownell, 2000; Brownell 2001). Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) allowed testing the applicability of hypothesized models of language based on single-language studies to a bilingual sample. In addition, cross-linguistic models were tested to examine the underlying structure of language across measures in both Spanish and English. Examination of dimensionality by language in school-age SE bilingual children yielded a 3-factor model (semantics, morphosyntax, and discourse). However, findings for cross-linguistic dimensionality were inconclusive. Results are discussed in terms of relationships within and across languages as well as within and across domains.


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