Action Naming in Spanish and English by Sequential Bilingual Children and Adolescents

Jia, Gisela; Kohnert, Kathryn; Collado, Julissa; Aquino-Garcia, Francia
June 2006
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2006, Vol. 49 Issue 3, p588
Academic Journal
Purpose: Verb processing in early sequential Spanish-English bilinguals was investigated. Primary study goals were to identify potential patterns of development in relative levels of verb processing efficiency in a 1st (L1) and 2nd (L2) language and to investigate factors influencing cognitive control of the dual-language system in developing bilinguals. Method: Four age groups of early sequential Spanish-English bilinguals (5-7 years, 8-10 years, 11-13 years, and 14-16 years of age) named action pictures in single-language (Spanish or English) and mixed-language (alternating Spanish and English) conditions. Dependent variables were accuracy and response time (RT). Results: Action-naming proficiency improved in both L1 and L2 with age, with a shift from L1 to L2 dominance in accuracy. In comparison with the single-language condition, the mixed-language condition engendered slower RT for all age groups and lower accuracy for the 3 younger age groups. The oldest age group did not show accuracy difference between the conditions. Conclusions: These general patterns of verb processing across age, language, and processing conditions replicated and enriched previous findings of noun processing in similar populations (K. J. Kohnert, E. Bates, & A. E. Hernandez, 1999). However, verb processing was considerably slower and less accurate than noun processing. Theoretical and applied implications of these findings are discussed.


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