Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type



Public Health

Director of Thesis

Dr. Lisa Fitton

First Reader

Dr. Leah Fabiano-Smith

Second Reader

Dr. Leah Fabiano-Smith


Purpose - There is a need for research informing best practices for assessing the language abilities of bilingual children, as well as research regarding typical phonological development of bilingual children. The purpose of the present paper is to contribute broadly to informing bilingual phonological assessment practice by examining phonological variation in Spanish-English speaking children’s English sentence repetition responses and the relation between these phonological variations and performance on the English sentence repetition task.

Method - 20 Spanish-English speaking kindergarteners completed the English sentence repetition task of the Bilingual English-Spanish Assessment (BESA; Peña et al., 2014). The phonological variations present in their responses were analyzed by type of shift that occurred and whether the variation was consistent with Spanish phonology or language neutral variations. The relationship between the number of variations present and score on the English sentence repetition task was also examined.

Results - There was no significant correlation between the number of phonological variations present in the children’s responses to the English sentence repetition task and their score on the task, as well as their score on other measures of language ability.

Implications - Examining phonological variation will allow for a more in depth understanding of the phonological development of bilingual children. Recording and categorizing each substitution revealed the vast variability in children’s responses.

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© 2021, Sarah Kate Coleman