The Aphasiology Archive
University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

English performance of proficient bilingual adults on the Boston Naming Test

Roberts, Patricia M. and Garcia, Linda J. and Desrochers, Alain and Hernandez, Denise
English performance of proficient bilingual adults on the Boston Naming Test. Aphasiology, 16(4-6), 2002, pages 635-645.


Background: The Boston Naming Test is widely used in several versions and languages. However, there are few studies of its use with bilingual adults. A recent study by Kohnert, Hernandez, and Bates (1998) found that Spanish/English bilingual adults scored well below unilingual adults.

Aims: This study tested two hypotheses. (1) Fluently bilingual adults will obtain significantly lower scores than unilingual, English-speaking adults on the BNT, in English. (2) The order of difficulty of the 60 items will differ for the bilingual and unilingual groups.

Methods & Procedures: This study compared the English performance of unilingual speakers (n = 42) to that of two groups of bilingual adults: Spanish/English (n = 32) and French/English (n = 49). All bilingual participants learned English as a second language as children and claimed high levels of ability in English. All participants completed high school (range 11-27 years of schooling). The three groups did not differ significantly in age or education. An ANOVA compared the mean Total Correct obtained by the three groups.

Outcomes & Results: Both hypotheses were confirmed. The mean scores (Total Corrrect) for the bilingual groups (42.6 and 39.5/60) were both significantly below the mean score of the unilingual group (50.9/60) but not different from each other. Item difficulty showed some similarities but also important differences across groups.

Conclusions: The English language norms cannot be used, even with proficient bilingual speakers. Cultural factors appear less important than bilingualism. Some items on the Boston Naming Test have more than one correct name and suggestions for ''lenient'' scoring are given.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
ID Code:1483
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2001 : 31st : Santa Fe, NM : May 29-June 2, 2001)
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Alternative Locations:,,
Additional Information:Access to Full Text is subject to the Publisher's access restrictions.