Linguistic Influences on Disfluencies in Typically-Developing French-English Bilingual Children

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The connections among language proficiency, language complexity, and fluency have been well-researched in both typical and atypical monolingual populations. Though previous work indicates that bilingual individuals often demonstrate different patterns of disfluency in each of their languages, how or why this happens is largely unknown. Relationships among fluency, language proficiency, and language complexity were examined using the narrative and conversational speech samples of 9 French-English bilingual children. Mean length of utterance in words (MLUw) and percent grammatical utterances (PGU) were shown to strongly relate to rates of total disfluency. The proportion of disfluent function words across samples differed significantly from the proportion of disfluent content words, although rates of disfluency on individual parts of speech did not differ significantly between French and English. Further work is necessary in order to better understand the extent to which language proficiency and linguistic complexity interact and affect disfluency across bilingual populations.