Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Health & Human Services


Speech-Language Pathology, MS

First Advisor

D'Jaris Coles-White

Second Advisor

Tammy Shilling

Third Advisor

Brynja Davis



Negation is one of the first concepts learned early during childhood and one of the most important ones for communication. Current studies focus on how negation is developed universally in each specific language and how it is governed by patterns of acquisition, however, there are factors that may affect this process. How does learning two languages simultaneously affect the normal development of negation? Analyzing how the exposure to two different languages affects the normal development of negation is important for understanding how bilingualism influences normal language development. This study is also important for the analysis of speech and language as learning how bilingual children develop negation gives clinicians a deeper understanding on how to obtain a baseline for distinguishing between a language delay or a language disorder.


The study was composed by 19 English speaking students from a monolingual elementary school in Southwest Michigan as well as 10 Spanish/English students from a bilingual elementary school in Sacramento, CA. Students were randomly selected from approved consent form received from parents.

Students were individually pulled from their classrooms with the permission of parents and teachers and given a set of preliminary qualifying assessments; the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, 4th Edition (PPVT-IV) for English speaking monolingual children and the Receptive and Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Tests, Fourth Edition (EOWPVT-4) for Spanish/English bilingual children. Participants were required to obtain an average score of 85 – 115 to qualify for the study. Following that, children were given a scenario in which two toy cars were shown. The first car was new and shown to the child as a comment was given by saying, “Look at how nice this car is, it is new, it has all its wheels.” Then, the students were presented a second toy car missing all its wheels and asked the child, “Look at this second car, what is wrong with it?” The participant was then given the opportunity to respond to the question to express that the car didn’t have any wheels.


The preliminary findings of this pilot study analyzed the data collected by conducting a T-test of variance that demonstrated a significant statistical difference between the responses from the monolingual children and the bilingual children. These results are consistent with the study replicated and indicated that monolingual’s responses were more consistent with the “Do” inclusion form, while the bilingual responses used the negative form (NEG) + verb + subject construction form in their answers. There was no gender difference significance.


Bilingualism exposes the case of having to develop two languages at once with one always being more predominant than the other; therefore, it is expected that language development in bilingual children will demonstrate variations from the norm and responses for this experiment will differ between monolingual children and bilingual children. This is an important factor to consider during speech and language treatment and intervention as well as evaluation. For further study, children of different ages and regionally diverse should be considered for investigation.

Subject Area

Bilingualism; Spanish language--Negatives; English language--Negatives; Negation (Logic)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.