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Sentence interpretation by typically developing Vietnamese–English bilingual children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2010

University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Giang Pham, Department of Speech–Language–Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota, 115 Shevlin Hall, 164 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail:


We examined developing bilinguals' use of animacy and word order cues during sentence interpretation tasks administered in each of their languages. Participants were 6- to 8-year-old children who learned Vietnamese as a first language and English as a second language (n = 23). Participants listened to simple sentences and identified the agent or “doer” of the action. English-only peers (n = 23) served as a comparison group. Results indicated that the bilingual group relied more on animacy than the English-only group when interpreting sentences in English and that the bilingual group used a blending or “amalgamation” of cues to interpret English and Vietnamese sentences. Significant within-group variation in cue preference was investigated as a function of age and proficiency in the first language and second language.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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