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The effects of length and transposed-letter similarity in lexical decision: evidence with beginning, intermediate, and adult readers. Do length and transposed-letter effects reflect developmental changes on reading acquisition in a transparent orthography? Can computational models of visual word recognition accommodate these changes? To answer these questions, we carried out a masked priming lexical decision experiment with Spanish beginning, intermediate, and adult readers (N=36, 44, and 39; average age: 7, 11, and 22 years, respectively). Target words were either short or long (6.5 vs. 8.5 letters), and transposed-letter primes were formed by the transposition of two letters (e.g. aminal-ANIMAL) or by the substitution of two letters (orthographic control: arisal-ANIMAL). Children showed a robust length effect (i.e. long words were read slower than short words) that vanished in adults. In addition, both children and young adults showed a transposed-letter priming effect relative to the control condition. A robust transposed-letter priming effect was also observed in non-word reading, which strongly suggests that this effect occurs at an early prelexical level. Taken together, the results reveal that children evolve from a letter-by-letter reading to a direct lexical access and that the lexical decision task successfully captures the changing strategies used by beginning, intermediate, and adult readers. We examine the implications of these findings for the recent models of visual word recognition. bjp.
Phonological working memory in Spanish-English bilingual children with and without specific language impairment. We examined the performance of sequential bilingual children with and without Specific Language Impairment (SLI), who had Spanish as an L1 and English as their L2, on an auditory non-word repetition task using Spanish phonotactic patterns. We also analyzed the accuracy with which this task distinguished these children (according to children's and mothers' performance). Eleven Hispanic children with SLI (M=8;10), 11 age-matched children with Typical Language Development (TLD, M=9;1), and 12 mothers, participated. They were living in New York City. The participants' repetition of 20 non-words (four at each of five syllable lengths) was scored for item and segmental accuracy, and error type. We examined the relations among children's non-word repetition performance, language scores, and, for a subset of the children, their mothers' non-word repetition performance. The percentage of correct non-words was significantly lower in children with SLI than in children with TLD. A length effect was found in 3-4-5 syllable non-words. Consonant substitutions and consonant omissions were significantly higher in children with SLI than with TLD. Both groups showed a similar relative pattern of more consonant than vowel errors. The children's non-word repetition performance correlated strongly with three of the four Spanish ITPA subtests we administered. The mothers of children with SLI performed more poorly than the mothers of the children with TLD, for the 20 non-words and the subset of 3-4-5 syllable non-words. Non-word repetition performance is an accurate identifier of language status in these groups (likelihood ratios are reported). The potential clinical application of this task in identifying SLI in bilingual Spanish-speaking children (on the basis of children's and mothers' performance) is discussed. LEARNING OUTCOMES: In the future, with a set of norms, this task could be used as a screening test to help detecting children with SLI or at risk for SLI. jcd.
Language integration in bilingual sentence production. To what extent are processes used in sentence production integrated between the different languages of a bilingual and to what extent are they kept separate? We consider three models that differ in their assumptions about the degree of integration: De Bot's [De Bot, K. (1992). A bilingual production model: Levelt's Speaking model adapted. Applied Linguistics, 13, 1-24] bilingual blueprint of the speaker, Ullman's [Ullman, M. T. (2001). The neural basis of lexicon and grammar in first and second language: The declarative/procedural model. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 4, 105-122] declarative/procedural model of bilingualism, and Hartsuiker et al.'s [Hartsuiker, R. J., Pickering, M. J., & Veltkamp, E. (2004). Is syntax separate or shared between languages? Cross-linguistic syntactic priming in Spanish/English bilinguals. Psychological Science, 15, 409-414] integrated model. A review of the evidence from bilingual sentence production studies shows that Hartsuiker et al.'s predictions are supported, but argues against the other two models. We discuss some repercussions for bilingual language use. ap.