Blog Archives

Effects of Length, Complexity, and Grammatical Correctness on Stuttering in Spanish-Speaking Preschool Children

Conclusions: Results from the present study were consistent with many earlier reports of English-speaking children. Both length and grammatical factors appear to affect stuttering in Spanish-speaking children. Grammatical errors, however, served as the greatest predictor of stuttering.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology


Extending the use of Spanish Computer-assisted Anomia Rehabilitation Program (CARP-2) in people with aphasia

The Spanish Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Program (CARP-2) for anomia is an active treatment for a range of people who have anomia as part of their aphasia profile.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders

Clitic placement in Spanish–English bilingual children

Can transfer occur in child bilingual syntax when surface overlap does not involve the syntax-pragmatics interface? Twenty-three Spanish/English bilingual children participated in an elicited imitation study of clitic placement in Spanish restructuring contexts, where variable word order is not associated with pragmatic or semantic factors. Bilingual children performed poorly with preverbal clitics, the order that does not overlap with English. Distinct bilingual patterns emerged: backward repositioning, omissions (for simultaneous bilinguals) and a reduction in forward repositioning bias. We conclude that transfer should be defined in lexical terms as the result of priming effects leading to shifts in lexical items.

from Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

Examining the evidence for an independent semantic analyzer: An ERP study in Spanish

Recent ERP findings challenge the widespread assumption that syntactic and semantic processes are tightly coupled. Syntactically well-formed sentences that are semantically anomalous due to thematic mismatches elicit a P600, the component standardly associated with syntactic anomaly. This ‘thematic P600’ effect has been attributed to detection of semantically plausible thematic relations that conflict with the surface syntactic structure of the sentence, implying a processing architecture with an independent semantic analyzer. A key finding is that the P600 is selectively sensitive to the presence of plausible verb-argument relations, and that otherwise an N400 is elicited (The hearty meal was devouring … vs. The dusty tabletop was devouring …: Kim & Osterhout, 2005). The current study investigates in Spanish whether the evidence for an independent semantic analyzer is better explained by a standard architecture that rapidly integrates multiple sources of lexical, syntactic, and semantic information. The study manipulated the presence of plausible thematic relations, and varied the choice of auxiliary between passive-biased fue and active-progressive biased estaba. Results show a late positivity that appeared as soon as comprehenders detected an improbable combination of subject animacy, auxiliary bias, or verb voice morphology. This effect appeared at the lexical verb in the fue conditions and at the auxiliary in the estaba conditions. The late positivity elicited by surface thematic anomalies was the same, regardless of the presence of a plausible non-surface interpretation, and no N400 effects were elicited. These findings do not implicate an independent semantic analyzer, and are compatible with standard language processing architectures.

from Brain and Language

Prelinguistic vocal development and children with hearing loss who are acquiring Spanish

Prelinguistic vocal development is the process by which children begin to produce increasingly complex, phonetically diverse, and speech-like utterances before they say words on a regular basis. Despite its clinical interest, few studies have explored vocal development in very young children with hearing loss who are acquiring Spanish. This article represents an effort to fill this gap. In it, the reader will find a discussion of typical patterns of development in children from different language environments, with a special emphasis on Spanish. In addition, procedures for assessing vocal development through speech sampling and an intervention approach for children with delays in vocal development are presented. This information is intended to be of use for speech-language therapists, audiologists, and teachers of deaf children, and to encourage further research into the prelinguistic and early linguistic abilities of very young children with hearing losses who come from Spanish-speaking families.

from Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología

Negotiation and communicative accommodation in bilingual police interrogations: a critical interactional sociolinguistic perspective

When geographically displaced persons who have limited proficiency in English undergo custodial interrogations in police stations in the USA, they are not necessarily guaranteed the services of professional interpreters. In fact, research shows a growing trend toward the use of police officers as interpreters at such interrogations. This trend is viewed as problematic for several reasons: police interpreters are unfamiliar with judicial norms requiring neutrality and impartiality toward those for whom they conduct interpreting; they frequently shift footing out of interpreter role into police detective interrogator mode; they may be unqualified to perform interpreting either because they lack the necessary interpreting skills or because their proficiency in the second language (L2) is not sufficiently high as to perform interpreting adequately. A microanalysis of the custodial interrogations of three Latino young men accused of serious crimes demonstrates that when both the detainee and the police interpreter have insufficient proficiency in L2, the outcome is negotiation and communicative accommodation; however, such efforts aimed at communicating successfully are made primarily by the interlocutor who has less power in the interaction, the detainee. Even when both interlocutors are fluent bilinguals, the outcome is adversative for the detainee: unable to perform both interrogator and interpreter roles simultaneously, the police detective imposes pressure on the suspect to answer questions in English, despite the suspect’s repeated efforts to switch to Spanish.

from the International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Level of Education and Category Fluency Task among Spanish Speaking Elders: Number of Words, Clustering, and Switching Strategies

It has been well documented that education influences the individual’s performance on category fluency tasks but it is still unclear how this effect may differ across the different types of category tasks (i.e., animals, fruits, vegetables and clothing). This study aims (1) to analyze the effect of the level of education on four different types of category fluency tasks among elder Hispanic Americans and (2) to provide normative information on a population with different education levels that was previously screened for neurological and psychiatric conditions. In addition this study examines the semantic strategies used by these individuals to complete the fluency tasks. The sample included 105 healthy Hispanic individuals (age 55-98; 29 males and 76 females) divided into three education groups (11 years of education). Results showed that after controlling for age and gender, education has a main effect and is a strong predictor of performance in verbal fluency for the categories animals and clothing with increasing educational attainment being associated with higher category fluency scores and with more switches between categories. These findings suggest that the category fruit is less influenced by level of education than the other three semantic categories and may be a more appropriate test across different educational groups. Results from this study provide a reference for clinicians assessing verbal fluency in Spanish speaking populations.

from Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition

Measurement Properties and Classification Accuracy of Two Spanish Parent Surveys of Language Development for Preschool-Age Children

Conclusions: Results suggest that Spanish parent surveys hold promise for screening language delay in Spanish-speaking preschool children; however, further refinement of these tools is needed.

from American Journal of Speech Language Pathology

Facilitating Vocabulary Acquisition of Young English Language Learners

Additional benefits to using Spanish expansions in vocabulary instruction were observed. Future research should explore additional ways of enhancing the vocabulary growth of children with limited skills in both languages in order to support and strengthen the child’s first language and promote second language acquisition.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

Phonological Acquisition in Bilingual Spanish–English Speaking Children

Implications: The results from this study indicate that transfer, deceleration, and a possible variation of the acceleration hypothesis occur in bilingual phonological acquisition. Evidence was found for separation and interaction between the bilingual children’s 2 languages (J. Paradis & F. Genesee, 1996).

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Early-, Middle-, and Late-Developing Sounds in Monolingual and Bilingual Children: An Exploratory Investigation

Conclusions: These exploratory findings indicate the need for longitudinal examination of EML categories with a larger cohort of children to observe similarities and differences between monolingual and bilingual development.

from the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

Recovery in reading: A treatment study of acquired deep dyslexia in Spanish

Conclusions: Our findings show that, even in a language with a transparent orthography, readers can be aided by therapy addressing both lexical and non-lexical reading. The implication is that premorbid reading in a transparent orthography may depend on lexical and non-lexical reading. This conclusion is supported by the superior improvement of word compared to nonword reading, and by the decline in production of semantic paralexias accompanying the improvement in reading performance

from Aphasiology

Effects of a Supplemental Spanish Oral Language Program on Sentence Length, Complexity, and Grammaticality in Spanish-Speaking Children Attending English-Only Preschools

Discussion and Clinical Implications: The findings demonstrate that a daily short native language program has significant effects on sentence length in words and subordination index in English language learners who are attending English-only preschool programs.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

Cognitive performance in community-dwelling English- and Spanish-speaking seniors

Objectives: to examine the association of language (English vs Spanish), and commonly used measures of memory and word fluency among older adults.

Design: cross-sectional.

Setting: community-based settings in New York City, including senior centres and residential complexes.

Subjects: four hundred and twenty independently living adults aged 60 or older (mean 73.8 years).

Methods: participants completed the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), animal naming test (ANT) and Wechsler Memory Scale III (WMS) Story A immediate and delayed subtests. Scores were examined by strata of language, age or education and for different thresholds of the MMSE. We tested the association of language and cognitive test performance using multivariable linear regression.

Results: twenty-one per cent of subjects were interviewed in Spanish and 16.2% reported poor-fair English proficiency. The mean WMS scores were not statistically different between English and Spanish groups (immediate recall, 9.9 vs 9.5, P = 0.44; delayed recall, 8.0 vs 7.6, P = 0.36, respectively), whereas ANT scores did differ (16.6 vs 14.3, P < 0.0001). These associations were consistent across MMSE thresholds. The association of language and ANT score was not significant after accounting for education.

Conclusions: we found little difference in performance on the Story A subtests from the WMS suggesting that this test may be used for both English- and Spanish-speaking populations. Results suggest that variations in ANT performance may be accounted for by adjusting for the level of education. These results have important implications for the generalisability of test scores among diverse older populations.

from Age and Ageing

Applying Cognitive Neuropsychological Principles to the Rehabilitation of Spanish Readers with Acquired Dyslexia

Cognitive neuropsychological models (CNMs) have been useful to generate a theory of aphasia rehabilitation. In contrast to the traditional syndrome approach, CNMs employ cognitive accounts to interpret language disturbances after brain damage. In this article, we apply CNMs to monolingual Spanish and bilingual Spanish-English readers with acquired dyslexia whose first language is Spanish. Although there are many studies of acquired dyslexia (reading errors associated with aphasia), they primarily have focused on English and French readers. Similar investigations on Spanish readers are limited. Unlike the opaque orthographic systems of English and French (inconsistent grapheme-to-phoneme relationships), Spanish has a mostly transparent orthography (regular grapheme-to-phoneme relationships). Thus evaluating and treating dyslexia secondary to brain damage in Spanish readers may involve different strategies from those employed with English and French readers. The increasingly large numbers of Spanish speakers in aphasia rehabilitation worldwide underscore the critical need to develop plausible theoretically grounded clinical strategies to serve these individuals.

from Seminars in Speech and Language