English Verb Accuracy of Bilingual Cantonese–English Preschoolers Purpose Knowledge of verb development in typically developing bilingual preschoolers may inform clinicians about verb accuracy rates during the 1st 2 years of English instruction. This study aimed to investigate tensed verb accuracy in 2 assessment contexts in 4- and 5-year-old Cantonese–English bilingual preschoolers. Method The sample included ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 26, 2017
English Verb Accuracy of Bilingual Cantonese–English Preschoolers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stefano Rezzonico
    University of Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Ahuva Goldberg
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Trelani Milburn
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Adriana Belletti
    University of Siena, Italy
  • Luigi Girolametto
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Stefano Rezzonico: stefano.rezzonico@umontreal.ca
  • Editor: Shelley Gray
    Editor: Shelley Gray×
  • Associate Editor: Kerry Ebert
    Associate Editor: Kerry Ebert×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 26, 2017
English Verb Accuracy of Bilingual Cantonese–English Preschoolers
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2017, Vol. 48, 153-167. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-16-0054
History: Received June 28, 2016 , Revised October 4, 2016 , Accepted March 31, 2017
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2017, Vol. 48, 153-167. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-16-0054
History: Received June 28, 2016; Revised October 4, 2016; Accepted March 31, 2017

Purpose Knowledge of verb development in typically developing bilingual preschoolers may inform clinicians about verb accuracy rates during the 1st 2 years of English instruction. This study aimed to investigate tensed verb accuracy in 2 assessment contexts in 4- and 5-year-old Cantonese–English bilingual preschoolers.

Method The sample included 47 Cantonese–English bilinguals enrolled in English preschools. Half of the children were in their 1st 4 months of English language exposure, and half had completed 1 year and 4 months of exposure to English. Data were obtained from the Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (Rice & Wexler, 2001) and from a narrative generated in English.

Results By the 2nd year of formal exposure to English, children in the present study approximated 33% accuracy of tensed verbs in a formal testing context versus 61% in a narrative context. The use of the English verb BE approximated mastery. Predictors of English third-person singular verb accuracy were task, grade, English expressive vocabulary, and lemma frequency.

Conclusions Verb tense accuracy was low across both groups, but a precocious mastery of BE was observed. The results of the present study suggest that speech-language pathologists may consider, in addition to an elicitation task, evaluating the use of verbs during narratives in bilingual Cantonese–English children.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (awarded to Luigi Girolametto, principal investigator), and the first author was the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship granted by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The authors express their gratitude to the parents and children and the Cantonese community in Toronto, Canada, for their active participation in the study. We also thank Katy Ka-Yan Mak, research coordinator, and Stephanie Yap, research assistant, for invaluable help.
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