Storytelling in Spanish and English

Storytelling in Spanish and English

Newman Lab (University of Maryland, College Park)

Who Can Participate

This study is for Spanish-English bilingual mothers who have a baby between 6 and 14 months, and who use both Spanish and English to talk to their baby

What Happens

This is a study for Spanish-English bilingual mothers to participate in with their babies! Over several sessions that you record and send to us, you will look at pictures and tell stories about them in both languages. You will tell three stories to your baby, and three stories to an adult. Each time, you will tell one story using just English, one story using just Spanish, and one story when you switch between the two languages whenever you want. We will send you all of the pictures, and you will record yourself telling the stories at whatever time works best for your family.

First you will fill out a short survey to make sure that you and your baby are both the correct age for this study and speak the correct languages. Then, we will email you more information including a way for you to provide informed consent. Finally, you will receive pdf copies of six picture book, instructions for recording yourself telling stories about those pictures and submitting those recordings, and a link to a questionnaire about how you typically use both languages.

What We're Studying

The goal of this study is to learn more about how mothers use both Spanish and English when talking to their babies, including how they produce words and sounds in different languages, and how the way they talk to their babies compares to the way they talk to adults. Previous studies have compared speech directed to an infant to speech directed to an adult in several different languages, but haven't often looked at what happens when parents are switching between two languages, which we know happens often in bilingual families! Ultimately, knowing more about the speech that babies are exposed to when they are acquiring language will help us to figure out how it is that they are able to learn two languages at the same time.


60 minutes


Families will receive a $20 USD credit on Tango ( for participating, which is redeemable for a gift card from your choice of a variety of major retailers. To be eligible for compensation, both you and your child must be in the age range for this study and know the correct languages, you need to submit a valid consent form, and we need to hear evidence that you have a child with you during at least one of the recordings. You will still receive compensation even if you do not finish the whole study or if we are unable to use all of your data. You can only participate in this study once, even if you tell the stories multiple times or to different children. You will be asked to provide your email address during the study, which is required to receive compensation if you are eligible. You will receive your Tango credit via email within 10 days of participation.

This study is conducted by Dr. Rochelle Newman (

Would you like to participate in this study?