The Receptive–Expressive Gap in Bilingual Children With and Without Primary Language Impairment Purpose In this study, the authors examined the magnitude of the discrepancy between standardized measures of receptive and expressive semantic knowledge, known as a receptive–expressive gap, for bilingual children with and without primary language impairment (PLI). Method Spanish and English measures of semantic knowledge were administered to 37 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2014
The Receptive–Expressive Gap in Bilingual Children With and Without Primary Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Todd A. Gibson
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Elizabeth D. Peña
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Lisa M. Bedore
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • 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 Todd A. Gibson, who is now at Louisiana State University: toddandrewgibson@lsu.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Barbara Rodriguez
    Associate Editor: Barbara Rodriguez×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2014
The Receptive–Expressive Gap in Bilingual Children With and Without Primary Language Impairment
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2014, Vol. 23, 655-667. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-12-0119
History: Received September 12, 2012 , Revised March 21, 2013 , Accepted June 18, 2014
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2014, Vol. 23, 655-667. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-12-0119
History: Received September 12, 2012; Revised March 21, 2013; Accepted June 18, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose In this study, the authors examined the magnitude of the discrepancy between standardized measures of receptive and expressive semantic knowledge, known as a receptive–expressive gap, for bilingual children with and without primary language impairment (PLI).

Method Spanish and English measures of semantic knowledge were administered to 37 Spanish–English bilingual 7- to 10-year old children with PLI and to 37 Spanish–English bilingual peers with typical development (TD). Parents and teachers completed questionnaires that yielded day-by-day and hour-by-hour information regarding children's exposure to and use of Spanish and English.

Results Children with PLI had significantly larger discrepancies between receptive and expressive semantics standard scores than their bilingual peers with TD. The receptive–expressive gap for children with PLI was predicted by current English experience, whereas the best predictor for children with TD was cumulative English experience.

Conclusions As a preliminary explanation, underspecified phonological representations due to bilingual children's divided language input as well as differences in their languages' phonological systems may result in a discrepancy between standardized measures of receptive and expressive semantic knowledge. This discrepancy is greater for bilingual children with PLI because of the additional difficulty these children have in processing phonetic information. Future research is required to understand these underlying processes.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant R21HD053223. We thank the students, teachers, and families for participating in this project.
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