The Role of Dual Language Exposure in Rhythm Perception and Grammar Development

Courtney Rooker Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Tonya Bergeson-Dana Butler University, Reyna Gordon Vanderbilt University
Within the past few decades, researchers and scholars have been bridging the gap between music and language. For example, children with formal music training tend to have better language processing skills, enhanced cognitive responses, and better rhythmic and auditory precision skills than children with little or no music training (Gordon et al., 2015). However, most studies have been conducted with monolingual English speakers. Thus, there is still a great deal to be learned about the relationship between music and language with children who have exposure to more than one language. The following study investigates the effect of dual language exposure on the relationship between rhythm and grammar. Twenty typically-developing 5- to 7-year-olds who were monolingual English speakers or had dual language exposure in English and Spanish, English and French, or English and Mandarin were given standardized assessments of rhythm perception and language development. The chosen languages were selected strategically to investigate whether linguistic rhythm (i.e., syllable- versus stress-timed language) affects the relationship between rhythm and grammar skills. Preliminary analyses revealed a significant correlation between rhythm and grammar skills for the English and Spanish group (r=.66, p<.05). At this time, there is not a sufficient number of participants within the English/French and English/Mandarin language groups to conduct correlational analyses. While we are continuing to test children in all four language groups, current findings suggest a relationship between rhythm perception and early language skills within the English and Spanish group.
Communication Sciences & Disorders and Education
Oral Presentation

When & Where

09:15 AM
Jordan Hall 238