The dimensionality of Spanish in young Spanish–english dual-language learners

Shelley Gray, Ann A. O’Connell, Jill Pentimonti, Maria Adelaida Restrepo, Laura M. Justice, Richard Lomax, Ann O’Connell, Stephen A. Petrill, Shayne B. Piasta, Shelley Gray, Maria Adelaida Restrepo, Kate Cain, Hugh Catts, Mindy Bridges, Tiffany Hogan, Jim Bovaird, Ron R. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study examined the latent dimensionality of Spanish in young Spanish–English dual-language learners (DLLs). Method: Two hundred eighty-six children participated. In their prekindergarten year, children completed normreferenced and experimental language measures in Spanish requiring different levels of cognitive processing in both receptive and expressive language modalities. Results: The best-fitting model suggested a bifactor solution with a single general language factor L plus two additional factors word knowledge and integrative language knowledge. The general trait L reflects the proportion of common item variance for all of the items, and the group traits of word knowledge and integrative language knowledge explain additional domain-specific variance for those item subsets. Conclusion: Results suggest that the Spanish language in preschool-age Spanish–English DLLs is not separable into content, form, and use, nor is it separable by higherand lower-level language domains or processing demands. Instead it appears that a general language factor underlies oral language in Spanish in DLL preschoolers and that other factors account for additional variance over and above L. Findings are discussed in relation to a companion study of monolingual Englishspeaking prekindergarteners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-766
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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