Comparison of Spanish, English, and Bilingual Children’s Performance Across Semantic Tasks Purpose: This study investigated predominantly Spanish-speaking, predominantly English-speaking, and Spanish-English bilingual children’s performance on a battery of semantic tasks. Method: Six semantic tasks (associations, characteristic properties, categorization, functions, linguistic concepts, and similarities and differences) were developed in Spanish and English. The tasks contained comparable items but were not direct translations ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2003
Comparison of Spanish, English, and Bilingual Children’s Performance Across Semantic Tasks
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth Peña
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Lisa M. Bedore
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Christina Rappazzo
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Currently affiliated with the Texas Children’s Speech Language Center, Texas Children’s Hospital.
    Currently affiliated with the Texas Children’s Speech Language Center, Texas Children’s Hospital.×
  • Contact author: Elizabeth D. Peña, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-1089.
    Contact author: Elizabeth D. Peña, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-1089.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: lizp@mail.utexas.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Article
Research Article   |   January 01, 2003
Comparison of Spanish, English, and Bilingual Children’s Performance Across Semantic Tasks
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2003, Vol. 34, 5-16. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/001)
History: Received March 19, 2002 , Accepted October 7, 2002
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2003, Vol. 34, 5-16. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/001)
History: Received March 19, 2002; Accepted October 7, 2002

Purpose: This study investigated predominantly Spanish-speaking, predominantly English-speaking, and Spanish-English bilingual children’s performance on a battery of semantic tasks.

Method: Six semantic tasks (associations, characteristic properties, categorization, functions, linguistic concepts, and similarities and differences) were developed in Spanish and English. The tasks contained comparable items but were not direct translations of each other. Each task consisted of expressive and receptive items. Predominantly Spanish-speaking children completed the tasks in Spanish, predominantly English-speaking children completed the tasks in English, and bilingual children completed the tasks in Spanish and English.

Results: Children in all three groups achieved similar average levels of performance on the assessment battery. However, there were differences in the patterns of performance for English and Spanish, as well as group performance differences when compared in the same language.

Clinical Implications: These findings highlight the importance of testing bilingual children in both of their languages and across a variety of semantic tasks in order to gain insight into bilingual children’s semantic knowledge.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIDCD) Contract #N01-DC-8-2100 and #5 K23 DC00141.
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