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Phonological Translation in Bilingual and Monolingual Children
Applied Psycholinguistics
  • D. Kimbrough Oller, University of Memphis
  • Alan Cobo-Lewis, University of Maine - Main
  • Rebecca E. Eilers, University of Maine - Main
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Abstract/ Summary
Bilingual children face a variety of challenges that their monolingual peers do not. For instance, switching between languages requires the phonological translation of proper names, a skill that requires mapping the phonemic units of one language onto the phonemic units of the other. Proficiency of phonological awareness has been linked to reading success, but little information is available about phonological awareness across multiple phonologies. Furthermore, the relationship between this kind of phonological awareness and reading has never been addressed. The current study investigated phonological translation using a task designed to measure children's ability to map one phonological system onto another. A total of 425 kindergarten and second grade monolingual and bilingual students were evaluated. The results suggest that monolinguals generally performed poorly. Bilinguals translated real names more accurately than fictitious names, in both directions. Correlations between phonological translation and measures of reading ability were moderate, but reliable. Phonological translation is proposed as a tool with which to evaluate phonological awareness through the perspective of children who live with two languages and two attendant phonemic systems.
Citation/Publisher Attribution
Oller, D.K., Cobo-Lewis, A.B., & Eilers, R.E. (1998). Phonological Translation in Bilingual and Monolingual Children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 19, 259-278. Available on publisher's site at
Publisher Statement
Copyright 1198 Cambridge University Press
publisher's version of the published document
Citation Information
D. Kimbrough Oller, Alan Cobo-Lewis and Rebecca E. Eilers. "Phonological Translation in Bilingual and Monolingual Children" Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 19 Iss. 2 (1998) p. 259 - 278
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