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Commun Sci Disord. 2011;16(1): 13-22.
The Use of Nonlinguistic Statistical Learning as a Clinical Marker in Bilingual Children
Dongsun Yim`
Copyright ©2011 The Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
Dongsun Yim(임동선)
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Background & Objectives
The goal of this study was to explore the value of nonlinguistic statistical learning tasks that can be used to more accurately identify Language Impairment (LI) in children with diverse language learning experiences. The theoretical rationale for investigating statistical learning is that it has been found to be a basic cognitive learning mechanism that is critical for language learning. First, performances in visual and auditory statistical learning were compared between typically developing bilingual and monolingual children. Second, based on Spanish and English standardized tests, bilingual children were divided into two groups: children who scored within the normal range and those who did not achieve the normal range. The performances of the two groups on visual and auditory statistical learning tasks were compared.
Participants were 37 Spanish-English bilingual children and 33 native English speaking monolingual children. They all met the criteria for normal development based on nonverbal IQ and a parental questionnaire. All children completed visual and auditory statistical learning tasks in addition to standard language tests.
The bilingual children performances were comparable to those of the monolingual children on visual and auditory nonlinguistic statistical learning tasks. These findings illustrate that, if there is no internal error in processing, performance involving statistical learning should be normal even when the subjects were systematically exposed to two different languages. When the bilingual children were divided into two groups based on standard English language scores (below average vs. above average), there were no significant differences regarding visual or auditory statistical learning. These findings held constant when the group was divided based on the ability to speak Spanish. These results supported the current diagnostic issues of bilinguals in which certain normally developing bilingual children perform poorly on standardized language tests. In addition, our results suggest that statistical learning is a more accurate assessment of underlying cognitive-linguistic processing.
Discussion & Conclusion
These study results indicate that nonlinguistic statistical learning reduces the bias toward bilingual children. These research findings foster our ability to answer practical questions and identified a new way to accurately identify LI in bilingual children. This study performed the initial step of providing information on fundamental learning aspects of nonlinguistic cognitive areas in children and explored a stronger theoretical basis for accurate assessment practices in bilingual children.
Keywords: 비언어정보 통계적 학습 | 이중언어 사용 아동 | 정확한 진단 | nonlinguistic statistical learning | bilingual children | accurate (non-biased) assessment
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