Spanish-English Bilingual Children’s Relative Use of English Tense and Agreement Morphemes

  • Irina Potapova San Diego State University & University of California
  • Sonja L. Pruitt-Lord San Diego State University
Keywords: bilingualism, tense and agreement morphology, morphological development, precocious BE, typical bilingual language development, low language skills

Abstract

Best practice for bilingual speakers involves considering performance in each language the client uses. To support this practice for young clients, a comprehensive understanding of how bilingual children develop skills in each language is needed. To that end, the present work investigates relative use of English tense and agreement (T/A) morphemes—a skill frequently considered as part of a complete language assessment—in Spanish-English developing bilingual preschoolers with varying levels of language ability. Results indicate that developing bilingual children with both typical and weak language skills demonstrate greater use of copula and auxiliary BE relative to third person singular, past tense and auxiliary DO. Findings thus reveal a relative ranking of T/A morphemes in developing bilingual children that differs from that of English monolingual children, who demonstrate relatively later emergence and productivity of auxiliary BE. In turn, findings demonstrate the importance of utilizing appropriate comparisons in clinical practice.

Author Biographies

Irina Potapova, San Diego State University & University of California

Irina Potapova is a doctoral candidate in Language and Communicative Disorders at San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego. Her research focuses on characterizing typical and atypical language development in young bilinguals.

Sonja L. Pruitt-Lord, San Diego State University

Sonja Pruitt-Lord is an associate professor in the School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at San Diego State University.  Her research focuses on child language development in the context of linguistic diversity and poverty, the development of prevention models for at-risk populations, and the role of language research in shaping public policy.

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Published
2019-06-24
How to Cite
Potapova, Irina, and Sonja L. Pruitt-Lord. 2019. “Spanish-English Bilingual Children’s Relative Use of English Tense and Agreement Morphemes”. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 1 (1), 118–142. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmbs.11125.
Section
Articles