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Grammatical morphology deficits in Spanish-speaking children with specific language impairment. The focus of this study was the use of grammatical morphology by Spanish-speaking preschoolers with specific language impairment (SU). Relative to both same-age peers and younger typically developing children with similar mean lengths of utterance (MLUs), the children with SU showed more limited use of several different grammatical morphemes. These limitations were most marked for noun-related morphemes such as adjective-agreement inflections and direct object clitics. Most errors on the part of children in all groups consisted of substitutions of a form that shared most but not all of the targets grammatical features (e.g., correct tense and number but incorrect person). Number errors usually involved singular forms used in plural contexts; person errors usually involved third person forms used in first person contexts. The pattern of limitations of the children with SU suggests that, for languages such as Spanish, additional factors might have to be considered in the search for clinical markers for this disorder. Implications for evaluation and treatment of language disorders in Spanish-speaking children are also discussed. jslhr.
Language switching and language representation in Spanish-English bilinguals: an fMRI study. The current experiment was designed to investigate the nature of cognitive control in within- and between-language switching in bilingual participants. To examine the neural substrate of language switching we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as subjects named pictures in one language only or switched between languages. Participants were also asked to name (only in English) a separate set of pictures as either the actions or the objects depicted or to switch between these two types of responses on each subsequent picture. Picture naming compared to rest revealed activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which extended down into Broca's area in the left hemisphere. There were no differences in the activation pattern for each language. English and Spanish both activated overlapping areas of the brain. Similarly, there was no difference in activation for naming actions or objects in English. However, there was increased intensity of activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for switching between languages relative to no-switching, an effect which was not observed for naming of actions or objects in English. We suggest that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex serves to attenuate interference that results from having to actively enhance and suppress two languages in alternation. These results are consistent with the view that switching between languages involves increased general executive processing. Finally, our results are consistent with the view that different languages are represented in overlapping areas of the brain in early bilinguals. n.