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Influence of oral language and phonological awareness on children's bilingual reading.The purpose of this study was to assess the roles of oral language and phonological awareness on reading performance in grade 3 bilingual students. Several hierarchical models assessed the best predictors of third grade English and Spanish word attack, word identification and reading comprehension. Predictor variables were measures of phonological awareness, expressive vocabulary, receptive vocabulary, and syntax in both English and Spanish. The results showed that within language contributions of expressive vocabulary and syntax best predicted literacy when compared to phonological awareness measures. jsp.
Learning English vowels with different first-language vowel systems: perception of formant targets, formant movement, and duration. This study examined whether individuals with a wide range of first-language vowel systems (Spanish, French, German, and Norwegian) differ fundamentally in the cues that they use when they learn the English vowel system (e.g., formant movement and duration). All subjects: (1) identified natural English vowels in quiet; (2) identified English vowels in noise that had been signal processed to flatten formant movement or equate duration; (3) perceptually mapped best exemplars for first- and second-language synthetic vowels in a five-dimensional vowel space that included formant movement and duration; and (4) rated how natural English vowels assimilated into their L1 vowel categories. The results demonstrated that individuals with larger and more complex first-language vowel systems (German and Norwegian) were more accurate at recognizing English vowels than were individuals with smaller first-language systems (Spanish and French). However, there were no fundamental differences in what these individuals learned. That is, all groups used formant movement and duration to recognize English vowels, and learned new aspects of the English vowel system rather than simply assimilating vowels into existing first-language categories. The results suggest that there is a surprising degree of uniformity in the ways that individuals with different language backgrounds perceive second language vowels. jasa
Translation norms for English and Spanish: the role of lexical variables, word class, and L2 proficiency in negotiating translation ambiguity. We present a set of translation norms for 670 English and 760 Spanish nouns, verbs and class ambiguous items that varied in their lexical properties in both languages, collected from 80 bilingual participants. Half of the words in each language received more than a single translation across participants. Cue word frequency and imageability were both negatively correlated with number of translations. Word class predicted number of translations: Nouns had fewer translations than did verbs, which had fewer translations than class-ambiguous items. The translation probability of specific responses was positively correlated with target word frequency and imageability, and with its form overlap with the cue word. Translation choice was modulated by L2 proficiency: Less proficient bilinguals tended to produce lower probability translations than more proficient bilinguals, but only in forward translation, from Ll to L2. These findings highlight the importance of translation ambiguity as a factor influencing bilingual representation and performance. The norms can also provide an important resource to assist researchers in the selection of experimental materials for studies of bilingual and monolingual language performance. brm.