Phonological whole-word measures in 3-year-old bilingual children and their age-matched monolingual peers

Ferenc Bunta, Leah Fabiano-Smith, Brian Goldstein, David Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The present study investigated phonological whole-word measures and consonant accuracy in bilingual and monolingual children to investigate how target approximations drive phonological acquisition. The study included eight bilingual Spanish- and English-speaking 3-year-olds and their monolingual peers (eight Spanish and eight American English). Phonological whole-word measures (pMLU and Proximity) and consonant accuracy (PCC) were calculated on elicited single words. Differences were found on each measure between bilinguals and monolinguals in English, but in Spanish, only the PCC displayed differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. Bilinguals displayed language separation on the pMLU and the PCC but not the Proximity, indicating structural phonological differences between the Spanish and English of bilinguals but commensurate target approximations. This suggests that maintaining a consistent level of phonological proximity to the target is an important factor in phonological acquisition. The measures and their relationships are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-175
Number of pages20
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Bilingual Spanish-English
  • PCC
  • Phonological whole-word measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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