Scheidnes Bilingual Corpus

Maureen Scheidnes
Memorial University of Newfoundland


Participants: 33
Type of Study: experimental, cross-sectional
Location: Newfoundland
Media type: audio
DOI: doi:10.21415/T5M98S

Browsable transcripts

CHAT data

Phon data

Link to media folder

Citation information

Morry, J., & Scheidnes, M. (accepted). The effect of linguistic experience on a non-word repetition task: Testing children with little exposure to their second language. In C. dos Santos & L. de Almeida (Eds.), Bilingualism and specific language impairment: Selected proceedings of Bi-SLI 2015. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Santos, C. dos, & Ferré, S. (2018). A nonword repetition task to assess bilingual children’s phonology. Language Acquisition, 25(1), 58–71.

In accordance with TalkBank rules, any use of data from this corpus must be accompanied by at least one of the above references.

Project Description

Recordings for this study were gathered from a non-word repetition task (LITMUS-NWR-French, Santos & Ferré, 2018), which is part of the Litmus (Language Impaired Testing in Multilingual Settings) series of language tasks. These tasks were designed as part of a collaborative effort within the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action IS0804 ‘Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society: Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment’ (, whose goal was to develop appropriate clinical tools for language assessment of bilingual children. Santos & Ferré (2018) provide a detailed description and rationale of the phonological makeup of the non-words in LITMUS-NWR-French.

The recordings were carried out in an elementary school in St. John’s with an early total French immersion program. In early total French immersion, instruction is delivered in French, but the vast majority of students are monolingual English-speakers. The participants include 33 first-graders who had all been raised in monolingual English-speaking families and had begun exposure to French at the onset of kindergarten. Newfoundland being majority English-speaking, the children were not exposed to French outside of school. The general characteristics of the population are presented in Table 1. In terms of SES, 26 mothers had completed a four-year university degree, and all had completed high school. SES level is indicated in the file name. SES 1 refers to children whose mothers completed high school but did not complete a university degree. SES 2 refers to children whose mothers completed a four-year university degree. SES 3 refers to mothers who completed a graduate degree. The mean age of the children was 6;10 (s.d. 0;3, range 6;4-7;5) and the mean age of onset was 5;4 (s.d. 0;3, range 4;10-5;8). This means that the mean length of exposure was 1;7 (s.d. 0;1, range 1;5-1;9). The cumulative exposurew to French had a mean of 3 hours per day.

The goal of the project was to better understand the impact of language exposure on non-word repetition task performance. In Morry and Scheidnes (accepted), the performance of 18 children in immersion were compared to bilingual children living in France on the long version (71 items) of LITMUS-NWR-French. These two groups varied with respect to their quantity of exposure to French, but overall scores based on identical repetition were largely similar.

More recent recordings have used the short (50-item) version of the LITMUS-NWR-French. The short version represents a subset of the 71-item version. Therefore, the two data sets can be merged by excluding the extra items from the files of the children who took the longer version. Data from all 33 children are included in an article that has been submitted for publication. Following Santos & Ferré (2018) voicing substitutions were not taken into account in the transcriptions. Only voiceless consonants were transcribed.