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Emerging temporality: past tense and temporal/aspectual markers in Spanish-speaking children's intra-conversational narratives. This study describes how young Spanish-speaking children become gradually more adept at encoding temporality using grammar and discourse skills in intra-conversational narratives. The research involved parallel case studies of two Spanish-speaking children followed longitudinally from ages two to three. Type/token frequencies of verb tense, temporal/aspectual markers and narrative components were analyzed to explore interrelationships among grammatical and discourse skills. Children progressed from scattered unsystematic means of encoding temporality to mastering a basic linguistic system that included devices to mark location of events, temporal relations and aspectual meanings. The consolidation of perfective past tense to express narrative events marked a crucial developmental point which preceded an explosion of additional verb tenses and temporal markers. The value of spontaneous language data, and the need to study grammar and discourse simultaneously to construct a comprehensive developmental picture are highlighted. Results are discussed in relation to theoretical proposals on the development of temporality. jcl
Phonological whole-word measures in 3-year-old bilingual children and their age-matched monolingual peers. The present study investigated phonological whole-word measures and consonant accuracy in bilingual and monolingual children to investigate how target approximations drive phonological acquisition. The study included eight bilingual Spanish- and English-speaking 3-year-olds and their monolingual peers (eight Spanish and eight American English). Phonological whole-word measures (pMLU and Proximity) and consonant accuracy (PCC) were calculated on elicited single words. Differences were found on each measure between bilinguals and monolinguals in English, but in Spanish, only the PCC displayed differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. Bilinguals displayed language separation on the pMLU and the PCC but not the Proximity, indicating structural phonological differences between the Spanish and English of bilinguals but commensurate target approximations. This suggests that maintaining a consistent level of phonological proximity to the target is an important factor in phonological acquisition. The measures and their relationships are also discussed. clp
Quantifying risk: verbal probability expressions in Spanish and English. OBJECTIVE: To investigate how Spanish- and English-speaking adults interpret verbal probability expressions presented in Spanish and English (eg, posiblemente and possibly, respectively). METHOD: Professional translators and university students from México and the United States read a series of likelihood statements in Spanish or English and then estimated the certainty implied by each statement. RESULTS: Several terms that are regarded as cognates in English and Spanish elicited significantly different likelihood ratings. Several language equivalencies were also identified. CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide the first reported evaluation of Spanish likelihood terms for use in risk communications directed towards monolingual and bilingual Spanish speakers. ajhb.
Early acquisition of gender agreement in the Spanish noun phrase: starting small. Nativist and constructivist accounts differ in their characterization of children's knowledge of grammatical categories. In this paper we present research on the process of acquisition of a particular grammatical system, gender agreement in the Spanish noun phrase, in children under three years of age. The design of the longitudinal study employed presents some variations in relation to classical studies. The aim was to obtain a large corpus of NP data which would allow different types of analysis of the children's productions to be carried out. Intra-individual variability in early NP types was analyzed and measured, and an elicitation task for adjectives was used. Results show that the acquisition of NP and gender agreement is a complex process which advances as the children gradually integrate different pieces of evidence: phonological, distributional and functional. The reduction of variability as the grammatical process advances is a key feature for its explanation. jcl