Publications by authors named "Simona Montanari"

5 Publications

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Bilingual phonological development across generations: Segmental accuracy and error patterns in second- and third-generation British Bengali children.

J Commun Disord 2021 Sep-Oct;93:106140. Epub 2021 Jul 4.

Department of Child and Family Studies, Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services, California State University, Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032, United States of America. Electronic address:

Introduction: While developmental norms for speech sound development have been widely reported for monolingual children, and increasingly for bilingual children, little is known about speech sound development across different generations of children growing up in heritage language settings. The purpose of the present study was to gain a better understanding of inter-generational differences in the phonological development of British Bengali children.

Methods: Typically-developing second-generation and third-generation Bengali heritage children living in Wales (n=19), aged between 4 and 5 years, participated in a picture-naming task in Sylheti and English. The single-word speech samples were transcribed phonetically and analyzed in terms of consonant and vowel accuracy measures, and error patterns. Subsequently, logistic mixed-effects regression models were fitted to identify the factors that predict accurate speech patterns in the children's productions.

Results: The results revealed high levels of accuracy in consonant and vowel production by both sets of children, particularly in English. On Sylheti consonants, second-generation children significantly outperformed third-generation children, however only on language-specific sounds. In contrast, generation was not a significant predictor for accuracy on English consonants, but all children performed better on shared sounds than on English-specific categories, and on stops than affricates. The third-generation children exhibited a greater number of error types in Sylheti than the second-generation children, and more common replacement of Sylheti dental stops with alveolars.

Conclusion: The results suggest that third-generation children have less developed pronunciation patterns in the heritage language, but not the majority language, than their age-matched second-generation peers, however only on language-specific sounds. These findings indicate that differentiating between the phonological norms of monolingual and bilingual children may not be clinically sufficiently sensitive, at least in the minority language, and that more fine-grained language use variables, such as the generation to which a bilingual child belongs, need to be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcomdis.2021.106140DOI Listing
July 2021

A longitudinal investigation of language mixing in Spanish-English dual language learners: the role of language proficiency, variability, and sociolinguistic factors.

J Child Lang 2019 Jul 9:1-25. Epub 2019 Jul 9.

California State University,Los Angeles,USA.

This study examines language mixing in 26 Spanish-English dual language learners over the course of their first year of preschool. The children's patterns of language choice while interacting in monolingual language contexts were analyzed at age 3;6 and 4;5 to examine: (1) whether the frequency of language mixing changed during the year; (2) whether mixing was related to proficiency as measured by utterance length and lexical diversity; and (3) whether there were different subgroups of children, among the participants, with similar proficiency and language use patterns. The results indicate that language mixing, which was low at both ages, was related to limited lexical resources only at 3;6. However, by age 4;5, language choice was more constrained by sociolinguistic variables - children's awareness of the language prescribed by the majority culture - than by proficiency. An exploratory cluster analysis further reveals different profiles of learners sharing similar proficiency and language mixing characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000919000278DOI Listing
July 2019

Bilingual Speech Sound Development During the Preschool Years: The Role of Language Proficiency and Cross-Linguistic Relatedness.

J Speech Lang Hear Res 2018 10;61(10):2467-2486

California State University, Los Angeles.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate typical Spanish-English speech sound development longitudinally in a group of bilingual preschoolers enrolled in a Head Start Program and to examine the extent to which such development is linked to language proficiency. The study also aimed to identify whether speech development is related cross-linguistically and to improve our understanding of error patterns in this population.

Method: Thirty-five bilingual preschool children produced single-word speech samples in Spanish and English both at the beginning of their first and their second year in a Head Start Program. Conversational samples in both languages were also collected at these data points to calculate mean length of utterance in words (MLUw) and thus assess the children's linguistic proficiency. The phonetically transcribed speech samples were compared over time in terms of segmental accuracy measures and error pattern frequencies. Correlation analyses were run to examine the relation between segmental accuracy measures across languages and between speech sound production and MLUw.

Results: One-way within-subject analysis of variance revealed significant improvements in accuracy over time in both languages, but not always for cross-linguistically unshared segments, nor for all consonant manner classes. Overall error rates decreased over time in both languages; although, certain error types showed no change. Cross-linguistic interactions were low in both languages. The results also revealed significant cross-linguistic correlations in segmental accuracy between Spanish and English, as well as between MLUw and speech sound production in both languages on a range of measures, with language-specific differences in Year 2 of the Head Start Program, but not in Year 1.

Conclusions: This study is the first to document developmental changes in the speech patterns of Spanish-English bilingual preschool children over 1 year. Accuracy rates improved significantly in both languages, suggesting that enhanced exposure to the majority language at school may not impede phonological development in the home language. Bootstrapping effects were particularly pronounced on cross-linguistically shared sounds, which suggests that the same underlying skills are utilized in both languages, whereas language-specific singleton consonants and consonant clusters did not appear to benefit from exposure to the other language. The results also suggest an intricate link between phonological skills and morphosyntactic performance at the early stages of development, but a more complex pattern thereafter with differences that may be based on language-specific phonological properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1044/2018_JSLHR-S-17-0393DOI Listing
October 2018

Cross-linguistic interaction in trilingual phonological development: the role of the input in the acquisition of the voicing contrast.

J Child Lang 2015 Sep 21;42(5):1006-35. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

California State University,Los Angeles,USA.

This paper examines the production of word-initial stops by two simultaneous trilingual sisters, aged 6;8 and 8;1, who receive regular input in Italian and English from multiple speakers, but in Spanish from only one person. The children's productions in each language were analyzed acoustically and compared to those of their main input providers. The results revealed consistent cross-linguistic differences by both children, including between Italian and Spanish stops, although these have identical properties in the speech of Italian- and Spanish-speaking adults. While the children's English stops were largely target-like, their Italian stops exhibited non-target-like realizations in the direction of English, suggesting interactions. Interestingly, their Spanish productions were largely unaffected by cross-linguistic interactions, with target-like voiceless stops, and voiced stops predominantly realized as spirants. These findings raise interesting questions about phonological development in multilingual settings and demonstrate that the number and type of input providers may crucially affect cross-linguistic interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000914000592DOI Listing
September 2015

Pragmatic differentiation in early trilingual development.

Authors:
Simona Montanari

J Child Lang 2009 Jun 12;36(3):597-627. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

California State University, Los Angeles, USA.

This study examines pragmatic differentiation in early trilingual development through a longitudinal analysis of language choice in a developing Tagalog-Spanish-English trilingual child. The child's patterns of language choice with different language users are analyzed at age 1 ; 10 and 2 ; 4 to examine: (1) whether evidence for pragmatic differentiation can be found even before age two and in simultaneous interactions with distinct language users; (2) whether lexical gaps determine the child's choice of one language over another; and (3) whether her patterns of language choice are affected by the interlocutors language use and their responses to mixing. The results indicate that the child was capable of selecting the appropriate language according to the interlocutors' language from the earliest sessions. However, switches to inappropriate languages were common due to vocabulary gaps, the interlocutors' acceptance of mixing and the possibilities determined by the existence of multiple lexical resources and multiple language users.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0305000908009112DOI Listing
June 2009
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