Word retrieval in bilingual individuals: how do language, test type, and self-reported fluency relate to naming accuracy in English and Hebrew?
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BACKGROUND: Although research on lexical access in Hebrew-English bilinguals exists, there is a need to quantify and determine if proficiency correlates with scores on language tasks like naming in structurally different languages, such as Hebrew and English. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to determine if language, test type, and self-reported proficiency is reflected in Hebrew-English bilinguals' naming ability in the two languages. METHODS: Twenty healthy Hebrew-English bilinguals complete the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Language Use Questionnaire (LUQ), the Boston Naming Test (BNT), a Hebrew naming test (Kave, 2005), a 100-item category picture naming task, and category generation in both languages. RESULTS: There was a significant effect of language and test type on accuracy scores on picture naming tests. While language did not have a significant effect on category generation, category had a significant effect on correct words, means semantic cluster score, and mean semantic switching score. There were several language proficiency variables that were significantly correlated with naming tasks in English (Language Ability Rating (LAR), Confidence, Lifetime Exposure, Education History), yet LUQ proficiency variables were only significantly correlated with Kave's test (LAR, Education History) on the Hebrew naming tasks. CONCLUSION: It appears that confrontation-naming assessments result in more variable performance in english and Hebrew than fluency tests. Based on correlations between LUQ variables and Hebrew naming performance, Kave's test appears to be the only test that captures the unique aspects that allow individuals to be proficient in Hebrew. The BNT is a useful measure for examining English naming. Therefore, using the BNT and Kave's Hebrew naming test appears to be the most effective in measuring naming performance in Hebrew-English bilinguals. Significant LUQ variables in English and Hebrew indicate that self-reported acquisition patterns and lifetime usage provide valuable information regarding naming performance.
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