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The dimensionality of Spanish in young Spanish-English dual language learners

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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  • Language and Reading Research Consortium
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume58
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)754-766
Publication statusPublished
Early online date1/06/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose: This study examined the latent dimensionality of Spanish in young Spanish-English dual language learners (DLLs).

Method: Two-hundred eighty-six children participated. In their prekindergarten year children completed norm-referenced and experimental language measures in Spanish requiring different levels of cognitive processing in both receptive and expressive language modalities.

Results: The best-fitting model suggested a bi-factor solution with a single general language factor ‘l’ plus two additional factors ‘word knowledge’ and ‘integrative language knowledge.’ The general trait l reflects the proportion of common item variance for all of the items and the group traits of ‘word knowledge’ and ‘integrative language knowledge’ explain additional domain-specific variance for those item subsets.

Conclusion: Results suggest that the Spanish language in preschool-age Spanish-English DLLs is not separable into content, form, and use, nor is it separable by higher- and lower-level language domains or processing demands. Instead, it appears that a general language factor underlies oral language in Spanish in DLL preschoolers and that other factors account for additional variance over and above l. Findings are discussed in relation to a companion study of monolingual English-speaking prekindergarteners.