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Morphological errors in bilinguals (Castilla-Earls et al., 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 01.02.2021, 23:26 by Anny Castilla-Earls, Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux, Katrina Fulcher-Rood, Christopher Barr
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to find morphological markers with good diagnostic accuracy to identify developmental language disorders (DLD) in Spanish–English bilingual children.
Method: The participants in this study included 66 Spanish–English bilingual children between the ages of 4;0 and 6;11 (years;months) with (n = 33) and without DLD (n = 33). We employed a comprehensive production task in Spanish to elicit morphological structures that have been previously found to be problematic for Spanish-speaking children with DLD. These structures included elements of nominal morphology (articles, direct object pronouns, adjectives, and plurals) and verbal morphology (verbs and the subjunctive mood). Logistic regression was used in this study to find a set of grammatical structures that most accurately predicted group membership.
Results: Spanish–English bilingual children with and without DLD significantly differed from each other in their accurate production of articles, clitics, adjectives, verbs, and the subjunctive mood. Clitics, verbs, and the subjunctive mood in isolation had adequate diagnostic accuracy. A combination of verb and subjective mood accuracy best predicted group membership in this study (sensitivity of 85% and specificity of 91%).
Conclusion: In addition to clitics, verbs, and the subjunctive mood, both elements of verbal morphology should be considered grammatical markers of DLD in Spanish–English bilingual children.

Supplemental Material S1. Dominance analyses.

Supplemental Material S2. Examples of items from the elicitation task (Desarrollo Morfosintatico de Español, DEME).

Castilla-Earls, A., Pérez-Leroux, A. T., Fulcher-Rood, K., & Barr, C. (2021). Morphological errors in Spanish-speaking bilingual children with and without developmental language disorders. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_LSHSS-20-00017

Funding

Research reported in this publication was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Award Number R15DC013670 granted to Anny Castilla-Earls.

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