The effects of early bilingualism on language learning aptitude
MetadataShow full item record
This investigation was undertaken to determine the effects of early bilingualism on language learning aptitude. The 164 (83 monolingual and 81 bilingual) participating subjects were fourth and fifth graders ranging in age from 9.2 to 14.3 years. All the subjects were given the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices, three subtests from the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery, and two from the Modern Language Aptitude Test. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT) and the Barnell Loft's Using the Context were adapted for both groups. In addition, an adaptation of the Spanish version of the Peabody, Test de Vocabulario en Imagenes Peabody (TVIP) and La Prueba Riverside de Realizacion en Espanol were administered to the bilingual youngsters. Standardized math, reading and other achievement test scores, supplied by respective school administrators, were also used. These tests included the Metropolitan Achievement Math Test and the Degrees of Reading Power Test for the public school students, and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills academic achievement test for parochial school students. The results of t tests and one-way ANOVAs did not support the hypothesis that the learning of two languages in early childhood enhances language learning aptitude, even after the subjects were further matched on age, grade, sex and parent education (38 monolinguals and 38 bilinguals). A comparison of the PPVT and TVIP scores revealed that the unmatched and matched bilingual subjects were unbalanced or subtractive bilinguals. It was concluded that the degree of bilingualism was a contributing factor to the results of this investigation. Different factors contributing to subtractive bilingualism were explored.