Novel Morpheme Learning in Monolingual and Bilingual Children.

American journal of speech-language pathology / American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

PubMedID: 28399578

Kaushanskaya M, Gross M, Sheena E, Roman R. Novel Morpheme Learning in Monolingual and Bilingual Children. Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2017;1-15.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the utility of a novel morpheme learning task for indexing typical language abilities in children characterized by diverse language backgrounds.

Three groups of 5- to 6-year-old children were tested: monolingual speakers of English, native speakers of Spanish who also spoke English (Spanish-L1 bilinguals), and native speakers of English who also spoke Spanish (English-L1 bilinguals). All children were taught a new derivational morpheme /ku/ marking part-whole distinction in conjunction with English nouns. Retention was measured via a receptive task, and sensitivity and reaction time (RT) data were collected.

All three groups of children learned the novel morpheme successfully and were able to generalize its use to untaught nouns. Furthermore, language characteristics (degree of exposure and levels of performance on standardized measures) did not contribute to bilingual children's learning outcomes.

Together, the findings indicate that this particular version of the novel morpheme learning task may be resistant to influences associated with language background and suggest potential usefulness of the task to clinical practice.