Sentence interpretation strategies in emergent bilingual children and adults

Iliana Reyes, Arturo E. Hernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study examined sentence processing in emergent bilingual children and young adults in both English (second language - L2) and Spanish (first language - L1). One hundred participants from five different age groups (5;4-7;11, 8;0-10;11, 11;2-13;11, 14;0-16;8 years, and college-age adults) participated in this study. An online sentence interpretation paradigm was used to explore participants' processing patterns. Results of both choice and reaction time experiments provide new information about consolidation and "in between" strategies for Spanish-English bilinguals; on the use of the distribution of local vs. topological cues (namely early reliance on word order in both languages, followed by an integration of late-emerging subject-verb agreement cues from 11 to 13 years of age). The nature of these syntactic strategies and their implications for developmental theories of bilingualism are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-69
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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