This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

How Native Language Affects Functionally Relevant Item Selection




Barahona, Lissien Esther

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication Disorders


PURPOSE: A challenge speech language pathologists face when establishing a therapy plan to rehabilitate a significant loss of language and communication ability is the identification and selection of functionally relevant items to target during therapy. There are many variables which must be considered when selecting functionally relevant items, including the native language of the patient. Accounting for the differences which arise from native language could improve the quality of the selected target lists and improve the quality of therapy. The overall purpose of this study is to determine how native language impacts the selection of functionally relevant items. A secondary aim is to determine how corpus type affects the selection of functionally relevant items. METHODS: Twenty-three Native Spanish speakers, eighty-one native English speakers and fifty-nine bilingual speakers responded to blank canvas and open-ended questions. Their responses were gathered and used for the creation of six different corpora. The effect of language group and corpus type was analyzed descriptively and inferentially. RESULTS: Using descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis, test of between subjects and chi square analysis it was determined that both language groups and corpus type had significant effects on the psycholinguistic variables of concreteness ratings, word length in phoneme, part of speech occurrence, and external corpus frequency. CONCLUSIONS: The results display significant effects of native language on the selection of functionally relevant items. Understanding these differences may increase the accuracy and effectiveness of target lists during therapy for individuals with different languages.