Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2017


As the U.S. diversifies, the number of Spanish-English dual language learners (DLLs) has grown significantly and is projected to continue to do so through 2060 (Colby & Ortman, 2015). Although research has shown that DLLs implement strategies, like code mixing, to compensate for varying language proficiencies (Vu, Bailey, & Howes, 2010), what elements of code mixing are typical has not been widely researched. This study aims to add to the body of work on typical development of DLL children by examining code mixing in narratives of 212 Spanish-English dual language learners at the beginning of preschool, to determine if differences in language exposure correspond to differences in the types and frequency of code mixing. Close inspection of English and Spanish narratives revealed that the participants preserved the mean length of utterance (MLU) in their code mixes, the majority of which were nouns, and that they code mixed more frequently in their Spanish narratives than their English narratives.