Nonword repetition performance patterns in English-Spanish bilingual adults and English and Spanish monolingual adults

Nadia Arriazola Flores, University of Texas at El Paso


Nonword repetition (NWR) is known to be a less biased measure for assessing language abilities of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children (Dollaghan & Campbell, 1998). NWR is used to examine phonological short-term memory mechanisms (also called working memory), because the tasks require the capability to discriminate, store, remember and reproduce phonological sequences (Baddeley, 1989; Braddeley 1974). The purpose of this study was to collect normative data on the NWR performance of bilingual and monolingual adults. This may contribute to the interpretation of performance in bilingual children by providing the standard of adult-like performance. This study examined the performance patterns of thirty-eight Spanish/English bilingual adult, twenty-two English speaking adults, and twenty Spanish speaking adult participants on English and Spanish NWR task (using percent of phonemes correct [PPC] as a measurement). A language questionnaire was used to evaluate language usage (Input/Output) for both bilinguals and monolingual adults. Results suggested that bilingual adults with comparable experiences in English and Spanish performed more accurately on Spanish NWR than English NWR. Monolingual English adults' performance was notably better in their native tongue. The monolingual Spanish adults' performance was statistically significantly lower in both English and Spanish NWR, and were the least accurate of all the groups. These findings suggest that English and Spanish bilingual adults and monolingual adults performance is supported by long-term language memory and that adults are more likely tapping into their long term phonological memory to facilitate recall of nonwords. The results also indicate that if adults (with Spanish exposure) perform well or poorly in one language their performance will be analogous in the other language regardless of their language dominance.

Subject Area

Speech therapy

Recommended Citation

Flores, Nadia Arriazola, "Nonword repetition performance patterns in English-Spanish bilingual adults and English and Spanish monolingual adults" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1557744.