Longitudinal examination of morphosyntactic skills in bilingual children (Castilla-Earls et al., 2023)
Purpose: This study aimed to examine changes in English and Spanish morphosyntactic standardized scores over time in bilingual children.
Method: One hundred bilingual children participated in this longitudinal study. The average age of the children at the beginning of the study was 5;11 (years;months). A subset of the participants was identified as children with developmental language disorder (DLD, n = 43). Children completed behavioral testing in Spanish and English at three time points over a period of 2 years. Growth curve modeling was employed to analyze longitudinal data.
Results: Distinct patterns of Spanish and English language growth were observed. While the average standard score in English increased, the average score in Spanish decreased over time for both groups. Children with DLD showed persistent language difficulties in both Spanish and English over time in comparison to their peers.
Conclusions: The results of this study provide evidence of a shift in language proficiency from Spanish to English for bilingual children with and without language disorders. This study also shows that bilingual children with DLD show a protracted but parallel growth in morphosyntactic skills in comparison to children without DLD.
Supplemental Material S1. Correlations between BESA/ME in Spanish and English over time.
Castilla-Earls, A., Ronderos, J., & Francis, D. J. (2023). Longitudinal examination of morphosyntactic skills in bilingual children: Spanish and English standardized scores. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(8), 2671–2687. https://doi.org/10.1044/2023_JSLHR-22-00495