Thursday, November 18, 2010
Cross-Language Nonword Repetition by Bilingual and Monolingual Children
Article: Windsor, J., Kohnert, K., Lobitz, K., & Pham, G. (2010). Cross-Language
Nonword Repetition by Bilingual and Monolingual Children. American
Journal of Speech-Language Pathology,19, 293 - 310.
Nonword repetition (NWR) involves asking a child to repeat back a string of unfamiliar nonwords. For each nonword response, the number of correct phonemes is caluclated.
In this study, the researchers compare the Spanish and English NWR performance of 4 groups of children: (1) English monolingual typically developing (TD), (2) English monolingual with language impairment (LI), (3) Spanish-English bilingual typically developing TD, (4) Spanish-English bilingual with LI. The purpose of this study was to examine the usefulness of English and Spanish NWR to identify children with language impairment LI.
The monolingual English TD children on English NWR, and the Spanish-English TD children on Spanish NWR achieved higher nonword repetition scores. Performance of the Spanish-English TD and monolingual English LI groups overlapped on English NWR, and similarly, performance of the Spanish-English LI and monolingual English TD groups overlapped on the Spanish NWR. The lowest scores were found for the monolingual English LI on Spanish NWR and Spanish-English LI on English NWR.
It is clear from this study that children's performance in NWR tasks is significantly influenced by previous language experiences. The authors suggest that English NWR in isolation is not sufficient as a diagnostic tool for children who have language impairment in addition to learning a second language.
This study represents one of the first well controlled explorations of the use of nonword repetition in bilingual language impaired groups. However, the sample size, especially for the bilingual language impaired group, was small. Results must be interpreted with caution.
Blogger: Areej Balilah. Areej is a first year in the Master of Speech and Language Field in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of Western Ontario. She is also a research assistant in Dr. Lisa Archibald’s Language and Working Memory Lab.