You can see the richness of information about the child’s language in this snapshot of a languge sampling activity.
Josepi, Age 7;2 Qualified for speech services with an expressive and receptive impairment.
Conversational language sample:
Informal observations indicated Josepi’s conversational language skills are stronger in Spanish than English. The examiner asked Josepi about what he does at home and who he plays with, and what he received as a gift on a recent holiday. He was able to give basic information in response to “Wh” questions (who, what, where) but his utterances were limited grammatically and Josepi did not initiate any of the conversation.
|I have it the move it robot yellow. I opened the present the robot. Press the body buttonNow the move (marching in room)[what else did you get?]My naneraThe hobbitThe manDe de de de happ out hereThis[what did your brothers and sisters get?]||My boy little have it the RRRRRRR (driving sound)My big boy has it the the this one 9drawing)Have it the down up (out of chair marching?)[did you have a Christmas tree”]Green tree have it green tree beautiful[do you have a dog?]No, no have it.|
Story-telling and retelling exercise
Josepi was asked to tell a story after looking at pictures in a wordless picture book.
An example of Josepi’s stories in Spanish and English are presented here, followed by an explanation:
|Story tell without an examplePorque hacer es.Eso se taparStop this ranaDe hechoribbit ribbitBong bongOh no ¿dónde está rana?Rana ¿dónde está?Tú estabas allíRana!Woof Woof WoofOy no!¿Rana dónde estás?¿Rana allí estabas?Ew woof Woof Woof Woof…||Story retell after hearing an exampleniño de niño perro ranaRana vaya stapa (escaper)Rana salió de allíNiño se despertó ya¿Allí estaba rana? No¿Rana dónde estás rana?Perro ya está abajoEl perro x eso.¿Rana dónde está?¿Rana allí estabas?Achim? (biting) ouchAhorita está eso.Eso ya cayó, miel allí adentroEl perro woof woof woof.X x perros…|
|English story tell without an example Right here the boy the dog the frogThe boy the sleeping.Here.||The (hi) him boy.The where the frog coming for?Frog, are you here?No.Frog, were are you?Woof woof woof.|
Three stories were elicited from Josepi:
- English: without an example
- Spanish: without an example
- Spanish: with an example
Josepi’s English language sample could be described as naming the characters and using gestures and sound effects to tell the story. His Spanish language samples were more linguistically rich and are considered a truer measure of his language abilities. Josepi’s language sample in English was smaller, less complex, and contained more grammatical errors. Some of the errors are typical of Spanish-influenced English but others were not and are indicative of language impairment.
In Spanish, Josepi was asked to tell a story without a model and at a different time tell a story with a model. There was considerable language growth between the two language samples (tell and retell), which indicates that Josepi benefits greatly from being able to see/hear an example before he is expected to complete a task.
Josepi produced utterances of 1 to 6 words in Spanish. His utterances included the characters of the story and some actions (sleeping). The story was told from the perspective of the main character as Josepi spoke as though he were the boy. Much of the story contained sound effects and naming of the characters. He mentioned the place (in the water) on a few occasions but typically did not mention the place or used non-specific words (there/here). Without the pictures it would have been difficult to understand what Josepi was talking about.
The story that he generated included verbs in present tense but did not include past or future. He did use certain verbs (cayó/fell) that occur more routinely in the past tense than the present. He did not use adjectives or many conjunctions (and). Without the known context of the book, much of the story would have been difficult to understand due to a lack of content, reduced use of pronouns and articles, and reliance on carrier phrase such as “and…” While his story included the action of many pictures, the story was not unified into a cohesive narrative. He did not use cohesive elements (“and then) to link the story together.
Grammatically, Josepi struggled to use complete sentences that were grammatically and syntactically correct. He had difficulty including articles and pronouns consistently. Additional syntactic errors included inclusion of extra articles, lack of plurals, missing aux-verb…, use of non-informative naming (it, that, everywhere), and using a different word order.