Comprehending Premises: Effects of Negations and Training Among Anglos and Hispanics

José Mestre, Pamela Thibodeau Hardiman, William Gerace, Arnold Well

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


College students who were either monolingual speakers of English or bilingual Hispanics participated in two studies dealing with the comprehension of sentences containing negations. Both the influence of different sentence constructions on comprehension, as well as the heuristics and misconceptions exhibited by subjects as they attempted to comprehend the sentences were investigated. The second experiment was designed primarily to determine whether it was possible to develop an intervention strategy that eliminated the use of erroneous strategies. In the first experiment, bilinguals took longer than monolinguals to comprehend sentences containing negations, although there were no interactions between sentence construction and language background that would suggest the use of qualitatively different strategies by the two groups. The intervention procedure used in the second experiment was extremely effective for monolinguals and for most bilinguals, as measured by performance a week later. When subjects returned to be tested six months later, the improvement in performance was maintained for the monolinguals, but not the bilinguals. The educational implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-280
Number of pages38
JournalNABE Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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