• Applying Learning Theory to the Acquisition of Academic Vocabulary

      Alt, Mary; Bourgoyne, Ashley; Plante, Elena; Fabiano-Smith, Leah (The University of Arizona., 2016)
      Purpose: To identify effects of variability of visual input on development of conceptual representations of academic concepts for students with normal language (NL) and language-learning disabilities (LLD). Method: Students with NL (n=38) and LLD (n=11) participated in a computer-based training for introductory biology course concepts. Participants were trained on half the concepts under a low-variability condition and half under a high-variability condition. Participants completed a post-test in which they were asked to identify and rate the accuracy of novel and trained visual representations of the concepts. We performed separate repeated measures ANOVAs to examine the accuracy of identification and ratings. Results: Participants were equally accurate on trained and novel items in the high-variability condition, but were less accurate on novel items only in the low-variability condition. The LLD group showed the same pattern as the NL group; they were just less accurate. Conclusions: Results indicated that high-variability visual input may facilitate the acquisition of academic concepts in both NL and LLD college students. Specifically, it may be beneficial for generalization to novel representations of concepts. Implicit learning methods may be harnessed by college courses to provide students with basic conceptual knowledge when entering courses or beginning new units.
    • Audiovisual Speech Perception in People with Hearing Loss across Languages: A Systematic Review of English and Mandarin

      Marrone, Nicole; Tsao, Ya-Wen; Fabiano-Smith, Leah; Story, Brad; Wong, Aileen (The University of Arizona., 2019)
      Audiovisual (AV) information has been reported to facilitate speech understanding among the English-speaking population. However, it is not clear whether audiovisual benefits also exist among people who speak languages other than English. A systematic review was conducted to investigate the audiovisual effects on speech perception among people with hearing loss who speak English and people with hearing loss who speak Mandarin. The results of the review demonstrated audiovisual benefits in the English-speaking population with hearing loss regardless of age, degree of hearing loss, use and type of hearing technology, and acoustic environment. By contrast, significant audiovisual benefits were only found for Mandarin phoneme and word recognition but not for tone recognition in pre-lingually deafened adults with cochlear implants and for phoneme recognition in children with hearing aids. No significant audiovisual benefits were revealed in Mandarin-speaking post-lingually deafened adults with cochlear implants and for speech perception at higher intensity levels. Heterogeneity in the results across studies and limitations of the included studies were discussed.
    • The Case of the Zissors: Dialect or Disorder?

      Alt, Mary; Zimmermann, Atha; Fabiano-Smith, Leah; Bunton, Kate; Motoyoshi, Rui (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Children who speak a non-mainstream form of English are at risk of being misidentified as having a speech sound disorder due to clinicians’ unfamiliarity with dialectal patterns. This study collected data on the speech productions of nine Spanish-English bilingual children ages seven to seventeen from Nogales, Arizona. This was done in order to document the presence of two suspected dialectal patterns for this region: /s/ /z/ and /tʃ/ /ʃ/. The /s/ /z/ pattern has not previously been documented in the literature. The other pattern, /tʃ/ /ʃ/, has been documented in sociolinguistic literature but it can be difficult for monolingual, English-speaking speech-language pathologists to access due to language constraints and limitations in the speech-language pathology literature. Single-word and connected speech samples were collected, along with a speaker perception task. Four of these children demonstrated the use of at least one of the dialectal patterns in single-words and five demonstrated the use of at least one of the patterns in connected speech. The judgment task did not function as expected, making the data uninterpretable. These results suggest that these patterns are present in children in Southern Arizona.
    • Phonological Transfer during Word Learning: Evidence from Bilingual School-Age Spanish-English-Speaking Children

      Alt, Mary; Erikson, Jessie Alise; Plante, Elena; Fabiano-Smith, Leah (The University of Arizona., 2016)
      Purpose: This study examines potential cross-linguistic effects on accuracy of codas in newly learned English-like nonwords produced by bilingual Spanish-English-speaking children. Methods: Forty-two bilingual Spanish-English-speaking second-graders (age 7-9) were matched individually with monolingual peers on age (+/- 6 months), sex, and percentile score on the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA-2; Goldman & Fristoe, 2000), and matched for group on mother's level of education. Participants named various sea monsters as part of computerized word-learning games. Sixteen syllable-final coda consonants were analyzed for accuracy. These were drawn from thirteen nonwords distributed across five word-learning tasks. Results: Bilingual children were less accurate than monolingual children in production of both shared and unshared codas, though the gap was greater for unshared codas. Both bilingual and monolingual children were more accurate in production of shared codas than unshared codas. Conclusion: The results suggest that native language phonotactics influence accuracy of coda production in bilingual Spanish-English-speaking school-age children during word learning. Influences of native phonology on word learning could potentially impact academic achievement through vocabulary learning in the classroom.