Objectives: Complex sentences are important indicators in children's syntactic development. However, measurement of complex sentence development of bilingual children is challenging because of their individual variability. In this study, a structural priming paradigm was used to probe the underlying knowledge of complex sentence production in bilinguals. Methods: Participants were 30 Korean-English bilinguals between the ages of 6 to 12 years and 30 of their typically developing Korean monolingual peers. Children were asked to connect two types of sentences (compound and embedded) under a spontaneous and a priming condition. The total number of accuracies was measured and converted into percent accuracy. Results: Monolinguals outperformed bilinguals, and older children scored significantly higher than younger children on producing complex sentences. Participants performed significantly better in compound sentences and also showed better performance under priming condition. In both groups, the vocabulary knowledge significantly predicted production under the spontaneous condition. However, for priming condition, age and non-word repetition scores predicted performance in monolinguals whereas in bilinguals, non-word repetition scores and vocabulary knowledge predicted production under priming condition. Conclusion: Complex sentence production is associated with vocabulary size and working memory capacity. Monolinguals and bilinguals differ in sentence production ability, with bilinguals relying more on vocabulary knowledge than monolinguals.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
- Bilingual children
- Complex sentence
- Sentence structure priming