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  • 00:10

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO: Hi, my name is Dr. Sandra Barrueco.I'm an associate professor at the Catholic Universityof America, where I direct two programs,the clinical psychology doctoral program with Latin Americanand Latino studies.My work focuses on young immigrant childrenand their families, with research conductedboth nationally and locally.There are three main aims to my research.

  • 00:31

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: First, improving early assessment and diagnosis.Two, examining prevention and intervention programs.And third, improving our understanding of developmentin young immigrant children and families.Today I will be discussing researchand bilingual development.For example, why is it important to understand bilingualism?What is bilingualism?

  • 00:53

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: Which research methods are used to study bilingual development?And how have research methods dispelledmyths about bilingualism?Why is it important to understand bilingualism?About one in four young children are bilingually developing.And there's been a 200% growth in 10 statesover a 20-year period.

  • 01:13

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: What is bilingualism?It's actually an umbrella term thatglosses over many types of multiple language learning.For example, there are different time pointsthat learning multiple languages begin.You might be exposed to two languages early.We call these individuals simultaneous bilinguals,early bilinguals, or dual language learners.

  • 01:34

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: There are also individuals that learn languages oneafter another, such as sequential bilingualsfor English language learners.There are also different areas of language in which we canbecome bilingual, such as understanding--what we call receptive language, talking--which we call expressive language, reading, and writing.In addition, there are different levels of bilingualism.

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    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: Individuals can be balanced in their bilingualism.They can be speaking well in two languages, which is high-high.Or we can have individuals who speaka little bit of two languages, which is at a low-low level.There's also more predominantly unbalanced bilingualism,when there's one dominant language and anotherthat is non-dominant.

  • 02:16

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: And this is usually the case where humans have developedone stronger primary language and abilitiesin another language.There's also another condition called passive bilingualism,where individuals might understand another languagealmost perfectly well, not necessarily beable to express themselves through their verbal language

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    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: or with writing.As a field, we are interested in learningthese variations of bilingualisms,it's advantages and disadvantages,how it develops in children and adultswith and without disabilities, and which factorscontribute to its growth.Which research methods are used to study bilingual development?There are four primary methods that we use--

  • 02:59

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: lab experiments, observational research,cross-sectional studies, and longitudinal studiesversus laboratory research.In our laboratories, we can produce controlled experiments,where we randomly assign participantsto study different linguistic processeswe're interested in examining.For example, we have soundproof booths,

  • 03:20

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: where we can expose individuals to new languages or soundsthat they have never heard.We can also audio record speech and analyzeparticipants' linguistic productionwhen provided with different types of prompts.We can also randomly assign different language learninglessons to individuals to see which approach yields the bestoutcome.We also use observational methods.

  • 03:43

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: For example, we're also interested in bilingualismin its natural setting.Language is socially driven, and the primary driverto learn language is to communicate with others.With IRB approval and participant consent,we record conversations and analyze the featuresin the language and in the environment thatcan lead to stronger bilingualism and language

  • 04:03

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: skills.This can entail analyzing the number of words stated,the types of words used--such as nouns versus words--and the topics that sustain bilingual growth.We also conduct cross-sectional studies.Many times we're interested in the differencesin bilingual development.For example, do children become bilingual more easily

  • 04:24

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: than adults?Which languages are easier to learn?Which education program best supports bilingual children'sdevelopment?In such cases, we are interested in comparative cross-sectionalstudies.We administer bilingual measures to the groupswe're interested in comparing.These could be vocabulary measures across two languages,

  • 04:45

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: which are amongst the best indicators of overall languagedevelopment.Or they could be measures examining reading and writingskills.We also conduct longitudinal studies.Researchers are interested in the developmentof bilingualism over time.Longitudinal studies can range from a few months to years.At each study visit, we administer

  • 05:06

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: measures to track the rate of growth,or atrophy, of each language and specific featuresof each language-- such as the ability to understand,express oneself, and more.We also administer questionnairesasking for environmental informationto identify which features may becontributing to various patterns of bilingual development.How have research methods dispelled

  • 05:27

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: myths about bilingualism?Myth number one, children are innately better atlearning multiple languages.The primary methods that this myth has been studiedhave been through a mix of laboratory experimentsand cross-sectional studies.In the laboratory experiments, we expose children and adults

  • 05:47

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: to languages they have never heard.And at times, we even create new onesto ensure that they've never heard them.We analyze their overall ability to learn the languages,and what factors contribute to the language learning.In the cross-sectional studies, wecompare children and adults who haveequal amounts of experience with the languageon various measures.We have learned that children and adults actually

  • 06:09

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: have comparable abilities to learn languages,though the cognitive processes utilized areslightly different.It is never too late to learn a language,but children have that many adults don't.It's more time, opportunity, and psychological openness.

  • 06:30

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: Second myth, the longer the individualshave spoken a language, the less likelythey will have an accent.If you're proficient in a language,they would not have an accent.The primary methods used to study this areaare a laboratory research and cross-sectional studies.In laboratories, we can examine individuals' language

  • 06:51

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: production in the presence of accents.We also directly assess their language skills.In cross-sectional studies, we compare individualson the length of time they have lived in a countryand started learning a language, their languageskills, and their self-reported accents.In the end, this myth is not true.And so there appears to be a sensitive period related

  • 07:13

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: to the age of exposure rather the length of learninga language or its level of proficiency.Accents appear related to physical and auditorydevelopment, in addition to language development.Individuals who are exposed to second languageafter age 7 or 8 may be more likely to have an accent.

  • 07:33

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: And there are individuals who mightbe fully proficient in a language,write it at the most advanced levels, and have an accent.In conclusion, there are many mythsabout bilingualism, many of whichare not substantiated through research.It demonstrates the important rolethat research plays in our everyday worldin order to understand and ultimately support

  • 07:55

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: human development.Particularly useful methodologiesfor studying bilingual developmentare lab experiments, observational research,cross-sectional studies, and longitudinal studies.Many researchers studying bilingualismuse a mix of these methods across their studies.And I'll leave you with three reflective questions.First, what question have you had

  • 08:16

    DR. SANDRA BARRUECO [continued]: about bilingualism or language development in general?Second, how would you design a study to examine this?And third, what are the pros and cons of this design?

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2018

Video Type:Video Case

Methods: Case study research

Keywords: accents and their meaning; first-language and second-language learning; language ability; language acquisition device; language development; language learning in children and adults; Second language acquisition; Second language speakers; Second languages ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Dr. Sandra Barrueco explains the research methods utilized by her team in debunking common misconceptions about bilingual and second language development.

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Research on Bilingual Development: What is True and What are Myths?

Dr. Sandra Barrueco explains the research methods utilized by her team in debunking common misconceptions about bilingual and second language development.

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