Factors that influence fast mapping in children exposed to Spanish and English

Mary Alt, Christina Meyers, Cecilia Figueroa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether children exposed to 2 languages would benefit from the phonotactic probability cues of a single language in the same way as monolingual peers and to determine whether crosslinguistic influence would be present in a fast-mapping task. Method: Two groups of typically developing children (monolingual English and bilingual Spanish-English) took part in a computer-based fast-mapping task that manipulated phonotactic probability. Children were preschool-aged (N = 50) or school-aged (N = 34). Fast mapping was assessed through name-identification and naming tasks. Data were analyzed using mixed analyses of variance with post hoc testing and simple regression. Results: Bilingual and monolingual preschoolers showed sensitivity to English phonotactic cues in both tasks, but bilingual preschoolers were less accurate than monolingual peers in the naming task. School-aged bilingual children had nearly identical performance to monolingual peers. Conclusion: Knowing that children exposed to two languages can benefit from the statistical cues of a single language can help inform ideas about instruction and assessment for bilingual learners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1248
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Bilingual
  • Children
  • Phonotactic probability
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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