ERIC Number: ED197914
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jan-5
Reference Count: 0
English and Spanish-speaking Children's Performance on Perceptual and Communication Tasks: A Cross-Cultural Study of Language and Cognition.
Foorman, Barbara R.; And Others
One hundred and twenty kindergarten and second grade children from 3 different language environments (40 Mexican Spanish-speaking children from Monterrey, Mexico, and 40 Chicano Spanish-speaking children and 40 English-speaking children from the same public elementary school in Houston, Texas) were given a perceptual matching test and a verbal communication test to examine the relationship between language and cognitive performance. Because of the processing demands imposed by English adjective ordering rules, the English-speaking group had a significantly lower performance score on the communication task and on the perceptual task than the two Spanish-speaking groups. Initially, the Chicano children performed significantly better than the Mexican children. However, the Mexican group showed the greatest gain across grade levels, possibly because Mexican children are exposed to the kinds of curricular activities that facilitate performance on perceptual and communication tasks by age seven, even though Mexico has few kindergartens. The decline in the rate of linguistic development across grades for the Chicano children was attributed to the fact that the use of Spanish by Mexican American children is often not encouraged as they get older, even in bilingual education situations. Data indicated a need for further cross-cultural work to map the differential effects of languages on childrens' ability to perform cognitive tasks. (CM)
Descriptors: Adjectives, Cognitive Development, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Interrelationships, Language Patterns, Language Processing, Language Research, Mexican Americans, Mexicans, Perception, Phrase Structure, Primary Education, Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics, Spanish Speaking, Speech Communication, Syntax
Dr. B.R. Foorman, College of Education, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77004.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: English Speaking
Note: Portions of this paper presented at the Annual Conference on Piagetian Theory and the Helping Professions (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, January 31-February 2, 1980), the International Communication Association Convention (Acapulco, Mexico, May 17-24, 1980), and the American Psychological Association Convention (Montreal, Canada, September 1-5, 1980).