The Spanish-English bilingual: A cross-classfication comparison of maze use in children

Jessica Valles, University of Texas at El Paso


With the continual increase of bilingual individuals in the United States, there is a critical need for research that can appropriately identify unique characteristics of language production for these individuals. In particular, maze use, or errors in production have been identified as a characteristic of language that typically occurs more in bilinguals’ speech production than in monolingual productions. Research comparing bilingual maze use in individuals who are typically developing with bilingual maze use individuals who are language impaired is limited. To compare these bilingual children with language impairment with to their typically developing peers, children were paired by age, grade, and gender in two groups (N = 24). A collection of narrative story tells were elicited in both English and Spanish by using a wordless picture book then coded for maze use. Questions regarding differences between maze use across languages and identifications were targeted. Overall maze use showed that children, regardless of classification, mazed more in Spanish than in English (F(1,22)= 5.143, p= .034, np2= .189). Only one of the four outcomes for maze type relationships was significantly different; filled pauses. Children with language impairment were found to produce significantly more filled pauses in Spanish than in English (F(1,22)= 8.781, p= .007, np2 .285). Findings suggest that when bilingual children are compared across classifications and across languages by measuring maze use in narrative story tells, filled pauses in Spanish are a potentially sensitive measure of language impairment.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Speech therapy|Language

Recommended Citation

Valles, Jessica, "The Spanish-English bilingual: A cross-classfication comparison of maze use in children" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10118222.