2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Factors that Influence English Word Learning in Bilingual Children
Liza T. Castillo
Dr. Mary Alt (The University of Arizona) and Dr. Janet Gooch, Faculty Mentors

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine how phonotactic probability and word length affect the way children learn words, in particular, how bilingual children learn English words. Method: A fast mapping task was conducted with 41 pre-school children (mean age 5 years) who were either monolingual (English) or bilingual (Spanish/English). They played a computer game to assess their expressive and receptive word learning skills. Results: Preliminary data show that bilingual children performed worse when words were phonotactically frequent and long than when words were short. Statistically, at this point, the monolingual children's scores are all equal. However, trends point in the direction that is expected from the literature, in that they perform better with phonotactically frequent words. There was no significant difference in accuracy between groups. Conclusions: Preliminary findings show that phonotactic frequency influences word learning in bilingual children, and appears to have a different effect than on monolingual (English) children primarily.

Keywords: bilingual, children, word learning, word length, phonotactic probability, expressive, receptive, preliminary results

Topic(s):Communication Disorders

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 61-4
Location: VH 1236
Time: 3:30

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