Perception and production of lexical stress in Spanish-English bilingual children

Faculty Sponsor  Ji Young Kim PhD  (

PI Gemma Repiso PhD candidate (

School of Spanish and Portuguese

Participants: Primary, Intermediate, Upper 1 & Upper II

classrooms 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14 15 16 & 17

Keywords:  language learning; literacy development

Phonological Awareness constitutes a strong predictor of literacy development.  Recent research suggests that  awarenessof  stress and intonation also plays an important role in predicting reading abilities.  This project at the Lab School will investigate the phonological development of Spanish speakers when enrolled in a Dual Language Program. The importance of dual language programs has been recognized, and this research has a goal to further investigate the effect of formal instruction in the production of Spanish sounds. The project has two main objectives from a data collection standpoint:   1) to explore the relationship between sensitivity to lexical stress (knowing where to put the syllable accent)  and reading abilities and 2) to understand how lexical stress is produced and what inputs contribute to the perception lexical stress ( e.g. pitch, duration, intensity).  This will then be studied to determine the importance of formal Spanish language instruction for native speakers, and how best to develop the curriculum that would bridge the language differences between English and Spanish for this population of students.   This would have implications for these students as they advanced their educations.   Spanish speaker students in the Lab School will be asked to participate in two short research sessions (30 minutes each) during the spring quarter. In the first session, they will be asked to learn the names of some imaginary characters and to listen to auditory stimuli to identify them. Later, they will read a list of 40 words in Spanish. In the second session, they will be asked to produce the name of the imaginary characters using picture stimuli. In the second session they will also be asked to tell a story in Spanish.