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English or Spanish Science Language Articles.
Speech segmentation by native and non-native speakers: the use of lexical, syntactic, and stress-pattern cues. Varying degrees of plasticity in different subsystems of language have been demonstrated by studies showing that some aspects of language are processed similarly by native speakers and late-learners whereas other aspects are processed differently by the two groups. The study of speech segmentation provides a means by which the ability to process different types of linguistic information can be measured within the same task, because lexical, syntactic, and stress-pattern information can all indicate where one word ends and the next begins in continuous speech. In this study, native Japanese and native Spanish late-learners of English (as well as near-monolingual Japanese and Spanish speakers) were asked to determine whether specific sounds fell at the beginning or in the middle of words in English sentences. Similar to native English speakers, late-learners employed lexical information to perform the segmentation task. However, nonnative speakers did not use syntactic information to the same extent as native English speakers. Although both groups of late-learners of English used stress pattern as a segmentation cue, the extent to which this cue was relied upon depended on the stress-pattern characteristics of their native language. These findings support the hypothesis that learning a second language later in life has differential effects on subsystems within language. jslhr
AIDS knowledge and measurement considerations with unacculturated Latinos. Likert-type scales are frequently used in research with different ethnic groups. Differences in cultural response styles and understanding of the scale have long been noted but rarely explored in research. This article presents the authors' experiences in using a Likert-type questionnaire to measure AIDS knowledge among recently arrived Mexican immigrants in the southeastern United States. The questionnaire findings were compared to a qualitative assessment using vignettes to ascertain knowledge of AIDS casual transmission. It was found that a lack of association existed between the respondents' answers to the quantitative AIDS Likert-type scale and the qualitative vignettes. In-depth interviews to understand the problems respondents were having with the scaling (linguistics, format, and wording of the AIDS questionnaire) supported the findings of a lack of association between the two methods of knowledge assessment. The findings suggest that the Likert-type format is confusing for, and does not accurately reflect knowledge in, recently arrived Mexican immigrants. wjnr
The Spanish ser/estar distinction in bilingual children's reasoning about human psychological characteristics. Children's reasoning about the stability of human psychological characteristics was investigated in relation to the obligatory distinction between the Spanish verb forms ser and estar (which convey different information about the stability of characteristics) and the corresponding English form to be. Participants (85 bilingual children, ages 6 to 10 years) were interviewed to determine (a) whether the ser/estar distinction is relevant to reasoning about the stability of human characteristics and (b) whether beliefs about the stability of psychological characteristics relate to differences in the use of ser and estar to describe and explain social events. Children treated ser and to be as more likely than estar to convey the stability of psychological characteristics. Children who tended to endorse stable views of psychological characteristics were especially likely to use the ser form in their descriptions and explanations.