Using Language-Specific and Bilingual Measures to Explore Lexical–Grammatical Links in Young Latino Dual-Language Learners Purpose This study examined the nature of the relation between language-specific vocabulary and conceptual lexical–semantic skills with grammatical abilities within and across languages in preschool Latino dual language learners (DLLs). Method Sixty-one typically developing, Spanish–English speaking DLLs from preschools serving low-income families participated in the study. Lexical, semantic, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 05, 2018
Using Language-Specific and Bilingual Measures to Explore Lexical–Grammatical Links in Young Latino Dual-Language Learners
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gabriela Simon-Cereijido
    California State University, Los Angeles
  • Lucía I. Méndez
    East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • 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 Gabriela Simon-Cereijido: gsimonc@calstatela.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray
    Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray×
  • Editor: Patrick Proctor
    Editor: Patrick Proctor×
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 05, 2018
Using Language-Specific and Bilingual Measures to Explore Lexical–Grammatical Links in Young Latino Dual-Language Learners
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2018, Vol. 49, 537-550. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-17-0058
History: Received June 9, 2017 , Revised September 17, 2017 , Accepted January 8, 2018
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2018, Vol. 49, 537-550. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-17-0058
History: Received June 9, 2017; Revised September 17, 2017; Accepted January 8, 2018

Purpose This study examined the nature of the relation between language-specific vocabulary and conceptual lexical–semantic skills with grammatical abilities within and across languages in preschool Latino dual language learners (DLLs).

Method Sixty-one typically developing, Spanish–English speaking DLLs from preschools serving low-income families participated in the study. Lexical, semantic, and grammar skills were assessed toward the end of the fall in both Spanish and English using normative and researcher-developed assessment instruments. Hierarchical linear regressions using baseline cross-sectional data were completed to determine the association of language-specific vocabulary and bilingual lexical and semantic abilities to grammatical skills measured by sentence repetition tasks in Spanish and English both within and across languages.

Results Results from the study revealed that a considerable percentage of the variance in the grammatical ability of these Latino DLL preschoolers in both Spanish and English was explained by lexical variables in the same language (54% in English and 16% in Spanish). In the strong language (Spanish), bilingual semantic skills also played a role, explaining an additional 8% of the variance. Conceptual vocabulary was a significant predictor of English grammar in the model that excluded the language-specific vocabulary measures.

Conclusions These findings suggest that grammatical skills in the Latino preschoolers examined in the study are strongly related to language-specific measures of vocabulary. In contrast, no evidence supporting the relation between vocabulary and grammar skills across languages was observed. Findings from this study provide insight into the impact of bilingual lexical–semantic knowledge on the grammatical skills of dual-language preschool children developing language abilities in their 2 languages. Clinical implications are also discussed.

Acknowledgments
These projects were funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, R324E060073, awarded to principal investigators Vera Gutiérrez-Clellen and M. Adelaida Restrepo, and by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, 90YF0066, awarded to principal investigator Gabriela Simon-Cereijido. We would like to acknowledge Vera Gutiérrez-Clellen and the San Diego State University Bilingual Child Lab for their support and collaboration in data collection.
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