Bilingual preschoolers' spontaneous productions: Considering Jamaican Creole and English

Karla N. Washington, Kristina Fritz, Kathryn Crowe, Brigette Kelly, Rachel Wright Karem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to characterize grammatical production in Jamaican Creole (JC) and English using the Index of Productive Syntax (IPSyn; Scarborough, 1990 ) in a sample of typically developing bilingual Jamaicans. Method
Spontaneous language samples were collected in JC and English from 62 preschoolers aged 4-6 years. Language samples were analyzed for IPSyn subdomains (Total Score, Noun Phrases, Verb Phrases, Questions/Negations, Sentence Structures), mean length of utterance in morphemes, and number of different words. Child and family demographic information were also collected along with nonverbal IQ performance.
IPSyn Total Score in JC and English were significantly correlated, and significant correlations were found between IPSyn subdomains in each language for Noun Phrases, Verb Phrases, and Sentence Structures, but not Questions/Negations. Item analysis for the IPSyn items showed that only 7 of the 56 items did not perform similarly in both languages, with performance on only 2 of these being significantly different. IPSyn scores in both languages were correlated with mean length of utterance in morphemes and number of different words, but only IPSyn JC was correlated with nonverbal IQ and age.
The IPSyn shows promise as a mainstream tool useful in characterizing grammatical productions across languages in typically developing bilingual Jamaican preschoolers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-195
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019


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