Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology

Department

Communicative Disorders

First Advisor

Alisa Baron

Abstract

Researchers have defined bilingual language proficiency and dominance in different ways for decades; however, to date there is no standard, systematic description used by the scientific community to quantify bilingual children’s language skills. Parent report questionnaires have been regarded as a valid measure of a child’s language skill. The purpose of this study is to explore the validity of parent report of their child’s language use when compared to hand coded audio segments retrieved using the Language ENvironment Analysis (LENA) System. Additionally, this study explores potential differences in the number of conversational turns and amount of child-directed speech between monolingual and bilingual early elementary-aged children. Two third-grade students (1 monolingual and 1 Spanish-English bilingual) wore the LENA System for two days. Their parents completed the Bilingual Input- Output Survey (BIOS) to report on their child’s language environment, including the amount of language their child hears and speaks. The amount of exposure and use in each language was calculated based on the hand coded segments recorded using the LENA device. These calculations were compared to parents’ reported estimates of their child’s language environment using the BIOS. For the bilingual participant analyzed, parent report did not appear to accurately estimate the child’s language environment. Parents overestimated Spanish language exposure and use when compared to actual data retrieved from the LENA recordings. The monolingual participant heard more child-directed speech than the bilingual participant, yet the bilingual participant had nearly double the number of conversational turns. In order to generalize these findings beyond these two participants, this question needs to be explored on a larger scale.

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