Title

The Dimensionality of Oral Language in Kindergarten Spanish–English Dual Language Learners

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2018

Publication Title

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Volume

61

Issue

11

First page number:

2779

Last page number:

2795

Abstract

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.

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education

Language

English

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