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Rates of Typical Disfluency in 30-Month-Old Spanish-English Bilinguals and English Monolinguals Open Access

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the rate of typical disfluencies in the speech of Spanish-English bilingual 30-month-olds compared to that of English monolingual 30-month-olds. We were also interested in the linguistic complexity, vocabulary diversity, speaking rate, and phonetic accuracy of these two groups. Last, we looked at the relationships between typical disfluency rate and performance on these linguistic variables.Method: Thirty-six Spanish-English bilingual 30-month-olds were compared to 29 English monolingual 30-month-olds. Spontaneous speech recordings of parent-child play interactions were transcribed in CLAN. Disfluency rates were coded in CHAT. Phonetic transcriptions of non-word and real word repetitions produced by both groups were performed in Phon. We computed PCC and KIDEVAL.Results: We found no significant differences in pause rate between monolingual English and bilingual English, but monolingual English had significantly higher revision rates than did bilingual English children and higher revision and pause rates than did bilingual Spanish. Bilingual children had a significantly higher pause rate in English than in Spanish. MLU-W, MLU-M, PCC, and VocD were significantly higher in monolingual English than in both bilingual English and Spanish. Within the bilingual group, MLU-W and Utts/Time were significantly greater in English than in Spanish. Our correlational analyses found that revision rates in both monolingual and bilingual children speaking in English were significantly correlated with MLU-W. In addition, our correlational analyses found that pause rates in both bilingual English and bilingual Spanish were significantly correlated with VocD.Conclusion: Our results showed that regardless of the language spoken or the disfluency type, bilingual children were equally as fluent or more fluent than were monolingual children. However, increased fluency may have been at the cost of attempting less complex linguistic output. The correlations found between revision rate and MLU and between pause rate and VocD may indicate a difference in origin of the two disfluency types.

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