Evaluating the discriminant accuracy of a grammatical measure with Spanish-speaking children

Vera F. Gutiérrez-Clellen, Maria Restrepo, Gabriela Simón-Cereijido

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    94 Scopus citations


    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the discriminant accuracy of a grammatical measure for the identification of language impairment in Latino Spanish-speaking children. The authors hypothesized that if exposure to and use of English as a second language have an effect on the first language, bilingual children might exhibit lower rates of grammatical accuracy than their peers and be more likely to be misclassified. Method: Eighty children with typical language development and 80 with language impairment were sampled from 4 different geographical regions and compared using linear discriminant function analysis. Results: Results indicated fair-to-good sensitivity from 4;0 to 5;1 years, good sensitivity from 5;2 to 5;11 years, and poor sensitivity above age 6 years. The discriminant functions derived from the xploratory studies were able to predict group membership inconfirmatory analyses with air-to-excellent sensitivity up to age 6 years. Children who were bilingual did not show lower scores and were not more likely to be misclassified compared with their Spanish-only peers. Conclusions: The measure seems to be appropriate for identifying language impairment in either Spanish-dominant or Spanish-only speakers between 4 and 6 years of age. However, for older children, supplemental testing is necessary.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1209-1223
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


    • Children
    • Discriminant accuracy
    • Spanish-speaking

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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