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S1_JSLHR-22-00140pratt.pdf (150.09 kB)

Bilingual language dimensionality (Pratt et al., 2024)

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posted on 2024-05-23, 17:09 authored by Amy Pratt, Kathleen Durant, Elizabeth D. Peña, Lisa M. Bedore

Purpose: This study used structural equation modeling to investigate the dimensionality of language in Spanish–English bilingual kindergartners. Five theoretical models were compared, including (a) a unidimensional model; (b) a two-dimensional model by language (Spanish, English); (c) a three-dimensional model by domain of language (phonology, semantics, morphosyntax); (d) a second-order model organized first by language (Spanish, English), with each language dimension comprising three domain-specific dimensions (phonology, semantics, morphosyntax); and (e) a six-dimensional model with freely covarying language-specific domains.

Method: Participants included 238 Spanish–English bilingual kindergartens, as identified by parent report of current language exposure and direct language measures. All participants completed a battery of phonology, semantics, and morphosyntactic test items in English and in Spanish.

Results: The six-dimensional covarying model constrained by domain and language provided the best fit for the data, with six separate factors for phonology, morphosyntax, and semantics in English and Spanish. The excellent model fit is supported by findings of a χ2 to df (degrees of freedom) ratio < 2 with no significance, comparative fit index > .95, standardized root-mean-square residual < .08, and root-mean-square error of approximation values ≤ .05.

Conclusions: Results support emergent theories of bilingual language development. Application of the results to the evaluation and intervention of oral language abilities in bilingual children entering the formal education setting are considered.

Supplemental Material S1. Results of the exploratory factor analyses.

Pratt, A. S., Durant, K., Peña, E. D., & Bedore, L. M. (2024). Modeling dimensionality of bilingual kindergarteners’ language knowledge in Spanish and English. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This research was supported, in part, by Diagnostic Markers of Language Impairment in Spanish English Bilinguals (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders [NIDCD] 1 R01 DC007439-01), Cross-Language Outcomes of Typical and Atypical Development in Bilinguals (NIDCD R01 DC010366), and DoE LEADER Grant H325D140096.