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Prosem Lecture: Phonological Measures for Bilingual Spanish-English-Speaking Children: The Language Combination Effect

February 15, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Presenter: Leah Fabiano-Smith, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor, Multicultural and Bilingual Certificate Program Director, University of Arizona Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Topic: Phonological Measures for Bilingual Spanish-English-Speaking Children: The Language Combination Effect

The purpose of this study was to examine the diagnostic accuracy of traditional measures of phonological ability developed for monolingual English-speaking children with their bilingual peers, in both English and Spanish. We predicted that a composite measure, derived from a combination of English and Spanish phonological measures, would result in higher diagnostic accuracy than examining the individual phonological measures of bilingual children separately by language. Sixty-six children, ages 3;3 – 6;3 participated in this study: Twenty-nine typically developing bilingual Spanish-English speaking children (x = 5;3); Five bilingual Spanish-English speaking children with speech sound disorders (x = 4;6); Twenty-six typically developing monolingual English-speaking children (x = 4;8), and six monolingual English-speaking children with speech sound disorders (x = 4;9). Children were recorded producing single words using the Assessments of English and Spanish Phonology (Barlow, 2003) and productions were phonetically transcribed and analyzed using the Logical International Phonetics Program (LIPP) (Oller & Delgado, 2000). Overall Percent Consonants Correct- Revised (PCC-R, Shriberg & Kwiatkowski, 1994), accuracy of Early-, Middle, and Late-Developing Sounds (EML, Shriberg, 1993; Fabiano-Smith and Goldstein, 2010a), and percent occurrence of phonological error patterns (McReynolds & Elbert, 1983) in both English and Spanish were calculated. Receiver Operating Characteristic Curves (ROC) and Support Vector Machine (SVM) models were applied to observe diagnostic accuracy, separately and combined, for each speaker group and each language. Findings indicated that the combination of measures improved diagnostic accuracy within both the English and Spanish of bilingual children, and significantly increased accuracy when measures from both languages of bilingual children were combined. Combining measures for the productions of monolingual English-speaking children did not increase diagnostic accuracy. In order to prevent misdiagnosis of speech sound disorders in bilingual preschoolers, the composite phonological abilities of bilingual children need to be assessed, across both gross and discrete measures of phonological ability.

We also acknowledge our funding sources who made this research possible: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) 1-R21-HD081382-01A1 and the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) 1-R01-DC016624-01A1.

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Zoom video recording available for 21 days after the live event.

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February 15, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Online: Zoom