What is it about?

This research article explores the influence of phonological context on the marking of tense morphemes in Spanish-English bilingual children with typical development. The study aims to answer several questions related to how phonological context affects the marking rate of specific morphemes and whether syllable structure and following context play a role in this influence. The researchers compare the marking patterns of two morphemes, PT and 3s, and examine various measures of phonological context to determine which ones best predict the marking rates. They also investigate whether the differences in marking patterns between the two morphemes are related to their phonological properties. The study confirms that preceding phonological context has a significant influence on tense morpheme marking, particularly at the end of the verb stem. The researchers find divergent marking patterns for PT and 3s, with PT showing increased marking in simpler phonological contexts and 3s showing reduced marking in the same contexts. The study also suggests that resyllabification and following context affect the marking rate of 3s, but not PT. The findings provide insights into the phonological influences on tense morpheme marking and their implications for language assessment and treatment, particularly in bilingual populations.

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Why is it important?

This study contributes to our understanding of language development, diagnostic practices, and treatment approaches, with implications for both researchers and clinicians working with linguistically diverse populations: Understanding morphological development: By examining the influence of phonological context on tense morpheme marking in bilingual children with typical development, the study contributes to our understanding of how children acquire and produce morphemes. It provides insights into the factors that influence the marking of tense morphemes and sheds light on the complex relationship between phonology and morphology in language development. Diagnostic implications: Tense morpheme marking is often used as a diagnostic indicator of language impairment (LI) in children. By investigating the phonological influences on marking rates, the study provides valuable information for the development and administration of diagnostic tools. It suggests that considering a broader scope of phonological context and complexity can lead to more accurate identification of LI, especially in linguistically diverse populations. Treatment considerations: The findings of this study have potential implications for treatment approaches targeting speech sound disorders and morphosyntax. The sensitivity of word-final tense marking to phonological environment suggests that treating word-final sequences could be a promising avenue for speech sound disorder interventions. The study highlights the need for further research in this area and encourages the exploration of simultaneous treatment of speech sound production and morphosyntax. Linguistic diversity: The study focuses on Spanish-English bilingual children, providing insights into morphophonological interactions in this specific population. It acknowledges the linguistic profile of bilingual children and explores how the interaction between two languages may affect tense morpheme marking. This research can inform future studies investigating the influence of phonological context in other bilingual and monolingual populations.

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This page is a summary of: Influences of Phonological Context on Tense Marking in Spanish–English Dual Language Learners, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, August 2017, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/2017_jslhr-l-16-0402.
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