Variability across repeated productions in bilingual children speaking Jamaican Creole and English

Sandy Abu El Adas, Karla N. Washington, Anna Sosa, Daphna Harel, Tara McAllister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: Previous work suggests that variability across repeated productions of the same word may be useful in diagnosing speech sound disorder (SSD) in bilingual children. However, there is debate over what level of variability in transcribed productions should be considered typical even in monolingual speech development. High variability in the input represents a factor that could promote increased production variability in bilinguals. For this reason, the current study examines transcription-based token-to-token variability in bilingual children speaking Jamaican Creole (JC) and English. Method: Twenty-five bilingual children aged 3;4–5;1 and twenty-five monolingual children aged 2;9–4;1 from a previous study were recorded producing eleven items in three repetitions. Result: Contrary to our hypothesis, bilingual children showed similar rates of token-to-token variability compared to the monolingual children. In a separate analysis of bilingual data across languages, bilingual children were more variable in JC compared to English productions. Conclusion: The difference between language contexts suggests that creole languages, which exist on a usage continuum, may be associated with increased variability in production. Our findings suggest that token-to-token production variability may be of similar clinical utility for bilingual and monolingual populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-659
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


  • bilingualism
  • inconsistency assessment
  • variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


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