Effect of Speaker on Non-word Repetition Tasks in Bilingual Children

Summer 2017

Claudia Valdivia : Linguistics, Spanish

Donor: Pergo Fund
Mentor: Sharon Inkelas

Nearly one quarter of children in the United States now hear a language other than English at home (National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). This means that millions of children, upon entering school, start acquiring English as their second language. At the same time as they experience a shift in language input in their new school environments, they also come in contact with significantly more children in their day-to-day life. Knowing that both child and adult input is important to the overall acquisition of language, it is interesting to ask whether children have different capacities for remembering words when communicated by a child (a classmate) or an adult (a teacher). Using a standardized diagnostic tool known as a nonword repetition task (NWR), I hope to investigate the differences in memory of nonwords when uttered by a child speaker versus an adult speaker in sequential bilingual 5-7 year olds.

Dear Pergo Foundation, Thanks to your generous gift, I and many other SURFers were able to conduct our first ever self-initiated research projects. This experience has been invaluable as there are not as many fully-funded research grants available to undergraduates. Research, that often feels out of reach, was available to us in a very structured and well established program that is SURF. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the understanding of child language development through my research and eventual honors thesis. Sincerely, Claudia