Dr. Raúl Rojas, assistant professor at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders and UT Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, has contributed an article to the journal Child Development, which examines the language growth of children who speak Spanish and are learning English.
Rojas co-authored the study with Dr. Aquiles Iglesias of Temple University. The researchers determined the shape of English language learners’ language growth patterns across 12,248 oral narrative language samples – 6,516 Spanish and 5,732 English. The samples were produced by 1,723 English language learners during the first three years of their formal schooling.
Results indicated distinct trajectories of language growth over time for each language, affected at different rates by summer vacation and gender. Rojas and his team also found significant intra- and interindividual differences in initial status and growth rates across both languages.
The research findings advance understanding of bilingual language growth and the varying trajectories for different language-learning groups. The study also provides a foundation for supporting the development of theoretical frameworks of bilingualism and the identification of possible language learner subgroups with different growth trajectories, Rojas wrote.