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Balancing bilinguals II: lexical comprehension and cognitive processing in children learning Spanish and English. The present study investigated developmental changes in lexical comprehension skills in early sequential bilinguals, in both Spanish (L1) and English (L2), exploring the effects of age, years of experience, and basic-level cognitive processing (specifically the ability to maintain performance during mixed vs. single-language processing) within a timed picture-word verification task. Participants were 100 individuals, 20 at each of five different age levels (ages in years, 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, 14-16, and adults). All had learned Spanish as a first language in the home, with formal English experience beginning at 5 years. Gains (as indexed by increased response speed) were made in both languages across age, although these gains were greater in English than in Spanish. The youngest participants were relatively "balanced" in their crosslinguistic performance. By middle childhood, performance was better in English. There were no response decrements at any age between the mixed and single-language processing conditions. These results are compared to those from a previous study that investigated basic-level lexical production in developing Spanish-English bilinguals. Both studies show a move toward English dominance in middle childhood, but the transition occurs earlier in comprehension. The production study showed differences between mixed and single-language processing (reflecting potential interlanguage interference) that are not evident in comprehension. jslhr
An English-language clinic-based literacy program is effective for a multilingual population. OBJECTIVE:To assess the effectiveness of a clinic-based pediatric literacy intervention on a multilingual population. BACKGROUND:Clinic-based literacy interventions are effective among English- and Spanish-speaking children. No data exist for multilingual populations. SETTING:Pediatric clinic in an urban county hospital. Design/Methods.Reading practices of 2 cross-sectional groups were assessed by standardized interview before and after the intervention. The intervention consisted of waiting-room volunteers reading to children, literacy counseling, and gift of a children's book at each well-child visit from 6 months to 5 years. Outcomes were assessed separately for primary English-speaking and primary non-English-speaking families. RESULTS:The baseline (N=85) and postintervention (N=95) groups were similar with respect to child age and sex, parental education, and length of time in the United States. Fourteen languages were represented in total, the most common being English (41%), Somali (28%), Spanish (9%), Vietnamese (7%), Oromo (3%), and Tigrinyan (3%). Compared with baseline, postintervention respondents were more likely to report reading as a favorite activity for the child (10% vs 25%) and parent (18% vs 40%), to read to their child before bed at least weekly (45% vs 71%), and to possess over 10 children's books at home (49% vs 63%). Among English-speaking families (N=30 baseline, N=40 postintervention), weekly bedtime reading increased (63% to 93%), reading as child's favorite activity increased (7% vs 30%), and reading as the parent's favorite activity to do with child increased (33% vs 58%). The proportion of English-speaking families possessing over 10 books at home and those reading with their children at least weekly showed no difference between the baseline and postintervention groups. Among non-English-speaking families (N=55 baseline, N=55 postintervention), weekly bedtime reading increased (36% vs 56%), reading as the parent's favorite activity increased (11% vs 27%), and the number of families to possess >10 children's books in the home increased (31% vs 49%). Reading as child's favorite activity (13% vs 24%) and weekly book sharing (60% vs 76%) showed nonsignificant trends between the non-English-speaking baseline and postintervention groups. CONCLUSIONS:This clinic-based literacy intervention influences home literacy behavior in this multiethnic setting, in both English-speaking and non-English-speaking families. Although efforts should be made to make such programs more appropriate for linguistic minorities, non-English-speaking families do stand to benefit from English-language-oriented programs. literacy, Reach Out and Read, pediatrics, reading, child development. p
Morphological priming in Spanish verb forms: an ERP repetition priming study. The ERP repetition priming paradigm has been shown to be sensitive to the processing differences between regular and irregular verb forms in English and German. The purpose of the present study is to extend this research to a language with a different inflectional system, Spanish. The design (delayed visual repetition priming) was adopted from our previous study on English, and the specific linguistic phenomena we examined are priming relations between different kinds of stem (or root) forms. There were two experimental conditions: In the first condition, the prime and the target shared the same stem form, e.g., "ando-andar" [I walk-to walk], whereas in the second condition, the prime contained a marked (alternated) stem, e.g., "duermo-dormir" [I sleep-to sleep]. A reduced N400 was found for unmarked (nonalternated) stems in the primed condition, whereas marked stems showed no such effect. Moreover, control conditions demonstrated that the surface form properties (i.e., the different degree of phonetic and orthographic overlap between primes and targets) do not explain the observed priming difference. The ERP priming effect for verb forms with unmarked stems in Spanish is parallel to that found for regularly inflected verb forms in English and German. We argue that effective priming is possible because prime target pairs such as "ando-andar" access the same lexical entry for their stems. By contrast, verb forms with alternated stems (e.g., "duermo") constitute separate lexical entries, and are therefore less powerful primes for their corresponding base forms. jcn