Understanding Disorder Within Variation: Production of English Grammatical Forms by English Language Learners Purpose This study examines English performance on a set of 11 grammatical forms in Spanish–English bilingual, school-age children in order to understand how item difficulty of grammatical constructions helps correctly classify language impairment (LI) from expected variability in second language acquisition when taking into account linguistic experience and exposure. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 05, 2018
Understanding Disorder Within Variation: Production of English Grammatical Forms by English Language Learners
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lisa M. Bedore
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Elizabeth D. Peña
    School of Education, University of California, Irvine
  • Jissel B. Anaya
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Ricardo Nieto
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Mirza J. Lugo-Neris
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Alisa Baron
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Disclosure: Authors Lisa M. Bedore and Elizabeth D. Peña are co-authors of the the Bilingual English–Spanish Assessment. This is one of the tools that has been used to identify children in part of the data set.
    Disclosure: Authors Lisa M. Bedore and Elizabeth D. Peña are co-authors of the the Bilingual English–Spanish Assessment. This is one of the tools that has been used to identify children in part of the data set.×
  • Publisher Note: This article is part of the Clinical Forum: Toward Accurate Identification of Developmental Language Disorder Within Linguistically Diverse Schools.
    Publisher Note: This article is part of the Clinical Forum: Toward Accurate Identification of Developmental Language Disorder Within Linguistically Diverse Schools.×
  • Correspondence to Lisa M. Bedore: lisa.bedore@austin.utexas.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray
    Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray×
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Clinical Forum: Toward Accurate Identification of Developmental Language Disorder Within Linguistically Diverse Schools / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 05, 2018
Understanding Disorder Within Variation: Production of English Grammatical Forms by English Language Learners
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2018, Vol. 49, 277-291. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-17-0027
History: Received March 3, 2017 , Revised July 20, 2017 , Accepted November 17, 2017
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2018, Vol. 49, 277-291. doi:10.1044/2017_LSHSS-17-0027
History: Received March 3, 2017; Revised July 20, 2017; Accepted November 17, 2017
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose This study examines English performance on a set of 11 grammatical forms in Spanish–English bilingual, school-age children in order to understand how item difficulty of grammatical constructions helps correctly classify language impairment (LI) from expected variability in second language acquisition when taking into account linguistic experience and exposure.

Method Three hundred seventy-eight children's scores on the Bilingual English–Spanish Assessment–Middle Extension (Peña, Bedore, Gutiérrez-Clellen, Iglesias, & Goldstein, 2008) morphosyntax cloze task were analyzed by bilingual experience groups (high Spanish experience, balanced English–Spanish experience, high English experience, ability (typically developing [TD] vs. LI), and grammatical form. Classification accuracy was calculated for the forms that best differentiated TD and LI groups.

Results Children with LI scored lower than TD children across all bilingual experience groups. There were differences by grammatical form across bilingual experience and ability groups. Children from high English experience and balanced English–Spanish experience groups could be accurately classified on the basis of all the English grammatical forms tested except for prepositions. For bilinguals with high Spanish experience, it was possible to rule out LI on the basis of grammatical production but not rule in LI.

Conclusions It is possible to accurately identify LI in English language learners once they use English 40% of the time or more. However, for children with high Spanish experience, more information about development and patterns of impairment is needed to positively identify LI.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the following grants: Diagnostic Markers of Language Impairment in Spanish English Bilinguals (NIDCD 1 R01 DC007439-01, PI: Peña), Phenotype Assessment Tools for Bilingual (Spanish–English) Children (NICHD R21HD53223, PI: Peña), and Cross-Language Outcomes of Typical and Atypical Development in Bilinguals (NIDCD 1 R01 DC010366, PI: Peña). The authors thank the many families, research associates, and research assistants who have contributed to this work. In addition, the authors thank Stephanie McMillen for her assistance with data analysis.
The views presented in this work do not represent those of the federal government, nor do they endorse any products or findings presented herein.
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