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The dimensionality of oral language in kindergarten Spanish-English dual-language learners

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Language and Reading Research Consortium
  • Gloria Yeomans-Maldonado
  • A Bengochea
  • Carol Mesa
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)2779-2795
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the latent dimensionality of language in dual language learners (DLLs) who spoke Spanish as their native language and were learning English as their second language.

Method Participants included 259 Spanish–English DLLs attending kindergarten. In the spring of their kindergarten year, children completed vocabulary, grammar, listening comprehension, and higher level language measures (comprehension monitoring and inferencing) in Spanish and English.

Results Two models with similar fits best describe the data. The first was a bifactor model with a single general language factor “l,” plus 2 additional language factors, 1 for Spanish and 1 for English. The second model was a 4-factor model, 1 for English that included all English language measures and 3 additional factors that included Spanish vocabulary, Spanish grammar, and Spanish higher level language.

Conclusions These results indicate that a general language ability may underlie development in both Spanish and English. In contrast to a unidimensional structure found for monolingual English-speaking kindergarteners, oral language appears to be multidimensional in Spanish–English DLL kindergarteners, but multidimensionality is reflected in Spanish, not English.