The bilingual language diversity of latino preschoolers: A latent profile analysis

Emily Halpin, Nydia Prishker, Gigliana Melzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study describes the language diversity (the within-group variability in dual-language skills) of a sample of Latino dual-language learners (preschoolers, 3–5 years of age) and how language diversity is related to home and classroom factors. Method: A sample of 161 caregivers and their preschoolers participated in this study. Caregivers and a sample of 19 teachers reported on demographic factors and home and classroom language environments. Children were assessed in various domains of both Spanish and English to evaluate their language proficiency skills in each language. Latent profile analysis was used to generate profiles of the diversity of bilingual skills of young dual-language learners. Results: Four profiles of dual-language skills emerged, characterized by balanced versus uneven skills and phonology and morphosyntax domains. The domains within each language served as markers to distinguish the profiles from one another, specifically morphosyntax and phonology. The results underscore the linguistic heterogeneity of preschool Latino dual-language learners. Conclusions: Findings reflect the importance of highlighting the strengths of language diversity of preschool Latino duallanguage learners instead of employing a monolithic, “onesize-fits-all” approach when considering how to best support them. Furthermore, the home environment plays an important role in supporting Spanish language skills, especially if such support is not necessarily provided at school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-888
Number of pages12
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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