Critique #3 Name: Theory: Date: Marivel Rivera Garcia Usage-Based Theories April 22, 2013 Hammer C.S., Komaroff E., Rodriguez B., Lopez L., Scarpino S., Goldstein (2012). Predicting Spanish – English bilingual children’s language abilities. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Vol. 55, pp 1251-1264 SYNOPSIS The problem is when describing development, the theories have only focused on the types of input that children receive and the variations that occur in the linguistic input provided to children (Hammer, Komaroff, Rodriguez, Lopez, Scarpino, Goldstein 2012). These explanations have made valuable contributions to the understanding of how children develop language; however, theories have not explored how these differences in exposure, may be due to those who provide children’s linguistic input. The purpose of this study was to employ usage-based theories to examine bilingual children’s language development (Hammer, Komaroff, Rodriguez, Lopez, Scarpino, Goldstein 2012). This study investigated the factors that affect bilingual children’s vocabulary and story recall abilities in their two languages. Through this quantitative research data was analyzed using a variety of subtests. According to Bialystok, when young bilingual children come to school, they display varying abilities in their two languages, but the factors that contribute to these differences are unclear. There is a need for this type of study because it is important to consider such variations when studying children’s development. THEORY This study emphasizes that bilingual children’s exposure to their two languages can be sustained in several ways. This study was consistent with the usage-based theories of language development. It demonstrated bilingual children’s English and Spanish vocabulary and English story recall abilities were indeed influenced by their exposure to each of their two languages. In connection, according to Vygotsky, social interaction leads to continuous step-bystep changes and development depends on interaction with people. This study also stresses on this importance. Also guided by usage-based theories, this study investigated the role of language exposure and usage as well as parental characteristics on the English and Spanish vocabulary and story recall abilities of Latino children. This hypothesis was confirmed for bilingual children’s vocabulary abilities (Hammer, Komaroff, Rodriguez, Lopez, Scarpino, Goldstein 2012). Consistent with usage-based theories of language development, this study demonstrated that children’s usage of both of their languages played a highly important role in their language development (Hammer, Komaroff, Rodriguez, Lopez, Scarpino, Goldstein 2012). ANALYSIS This investigation examined the factors that contribute to the varying abilities in their two languages. The study hypothesized that children’s abilities in their two languages are affected by how much time they are exposed to each language. Also they hypothesized that different factors would have an impact on the four outcomes that were investigated. The results showed that a big percentage of the variation in children’s English and Spanish vocabulary scores could be explained by the different factors used. The study expanded on usagebased theories of language development and investigated the role that parental characteristics played in supporting bilingual children’s outcomes. Also children with mothers with higher education had higher Spanish story recall. This indicates that maternal education plays a role in children’s language development in both monolingual and bilingual children. There were several limitations to this study as well. One limitation was the study findings explain less of the variation in children’s storytelling abilities than in children’s vocabularies. They also felt that the subtest Woodcock Munoz Language Survey may have been tapping abilities other than the language that are not affected by children’s language exposure and usage. Another limitation was the internal consistency reliability coefficients for the Story Recall subtests were modest. Lastly, they failed to investigate the role of language exposure and usage between the children and their siblings. This is very important because interactions with their siblings may impact their language abilities in two languages as well. Regardless, the findings of this study demonstrated how usage-based theories apply to the study of bilingual children’s language development. EVALUATION As part of this investigation there were several factors targeted. The first one was children’s exposure to their two languages as captured by the length of time that the children lived in the United States. This factor also included the age that the children were when communicated with regularly in English and the current language they were being exposed to. The second factor was how the children used their two languages with their mothers, fathers, and teachers. The third factor was the parental characteristics that included parental education, generational status, and maternal language proficiency. The study hypothesized that these factors would affect children’s development of their two languages but that different factors would play a role in the four outcomes of interest (Bohman 2010). Another key aspect of this investigation was the children observed were from two-parent homes. The participants included 191 Latino families and their children. These participated in a larger study of bilingual children’s phonological development. The participants were recruited from Head Start Programs, school districts and community-based preschool programs located in urban area of central New Mexico, central and southeastern Florida and central Pennsylvania. The targeted dialects were Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban. According to the United States Census, these dialects are the three most frequently spoken dialects of Spanish in the United States. To be able to be included in the study, the children had to be a typically developing and come from a two-parent home. Two types of subtest were administered to test this study. The WoodcockMunoz Language Survey and the Story Recall/Remoracion de Cuentos. The first one was given in English and Spanish and consisted of 59 items in English and 58 items in Spanish. It was used to measure vocabulary development. The second subtest was used to measure listening, memory and expressive language. It consisted of 11 stories that are read to the children and then they retell the story to the examiner. Finally, information from the parents was gathered as well through a questionnaire. The study demonstrated the applicability of usage-based theories to the study of bilingual children’s language development (Hammer, Komaroff, Rodriguez, Lopez, Scarpino, Goldstein 2012). CONCLUSION As I analyzed the information through this article I was able to see the consistency within the investigation. I believe the research was supported through justified ways of measurement. In conclusion children’s exposure to and usage of their two languages as well as maternal characteristics play significant roles in bilingual individuals’ language development (Hammer, Komaroff, Rodriguez, Lopez, Scarpino, Goldstein 2012). According to this study, it is important to gather detailed sociolinguistic information about bilingual children to help identify the characteristics in their language development. According to Pang, the limited English proficiency (LEP) population or the English language learners (ELLs) in the United States has increased dramatically. Because of this growth, it is important to identify their language development factors to avoid misconceptions. References Bialystock, E. (2001). Bilingualism in development: Language, literacy and cognition. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Gredler, M. (2009). Lev. S. Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory. Learning and instruction theory into practice, No 6. Hammer C.S., Komaroff E., Rodriguez B., Lopez L., Scarpino S., Goldstein (2012). Predicting Spanish – English bilingual children’s language abilities. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Vol. 55, pp 1251-1264 Pang, Y. (2012). Becoming fluent in two languages: When and how?. The NERA Journal, Volume 47 U.S. Census Bureau. (2003). Language usage and speaking ability: A 2000 brief. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.