Cross-Language Nonword Repetition by Bilingual and Monolingual Children Purpose Identifying children with primary or specific language impairment (LI) in languages other than English continues to present a diagnostic challenge. This study examined the utility of English and Spanish nonword repetition (NWR) to identify children known to have LI. Method Participants were 4 groups of school-age children ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2010
Cross-Language Nonword Repetition by Bilingual and Monolingual Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jennifer Windsor
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Kathryn Kohnert
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Kelann F. Lobitz
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Giang T. Pham
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Contact author: Jennifer Windsor, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, 115 Shevlin Hall, University of Minnesota, 164 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: windsor@umn.edu.
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2010
Cross-Language Nonword Repetition by Bilingual and Monolingual Children
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2010, Vol. 19, 298-310. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0064)
History: Received July 22, 2009 , Revised March 9, 2010 , Accepted June 25, 2010
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2010, Vol. 19, 298-310. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2010/09-0064)
History: Received July 22, 2009; Revised March 9, 2010; Accepted June 25, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 37

Purpose Identifying children with primary or specific language impairment (LI) in languages other than English continues to present a diagnostic challenge. This study examined the utility of English and Spanish nonword repetition (NWR) to identify children known to have LI.

Method Participants were 4 groups of school-age children (N = 187). There were 2 typically developing groups: proficient Spanish-English sequential bilinguals and monolingual English speakers. There were 2 groups of children with LI, one Spanish-English and the other monolingual English speakers. Children participated in both English and Spanish NWR.

Results Children’s NWR performance was significantly correlated across languages. In English NWR, the 2 groups with LI had lower accuracy at the longest syllable length than the 2 typically developing groups. In Spanish NWR, monolingual children with LI had lower repetition accuracy than bilingual children with LI and typical monolingual children, with all 3 groups outperformed by the typical bilingual group. Likelihood ratios indicated adequate diagnostic power only for English NWR in ruling out the typical bilingual children as showing LI.

Conclusion The results demonstrate that NWR performance relies on the dual influences of LI and native language experience. However, it remains possible that NWR is useful in a composite marker for LI.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Grant R21 HD053222 to the first two authors from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and by an award to the third author from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Minnesota. We are grateful to the following research assistants for help with data collection and scoring: Heather Bauer, Olga Campbell, Kelly Nett Cordero, Kerry Ebert, Rachel Hopp, Erika Hoyt, Hannah Julien, Pui Fong Kan, Chao Khang, Alaina Kelley, Laura Kluge, Lacey LeBarge, Amelia Medina, Vanessa Monge, Abby Pomeroy, Marjorie Southward, Lacey Thomas, Karyn Wagner, and Jamie Wennblom. Special thanks to participants and their families as well as to Frank Cirrin and the faculty and speech-language pathologists at Minneapolis Public Schools and Aurora Charter School.
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