Vocabulary acquisition in bilingual children: Are they more delayed in English than their monolingual peers? Does this depend on input of language?

Naomi Kilgore


The current study investigated the effect of exposure to English on bilingual language acquisition. 18 monolingual and 6 bilingual children, aged between 29 -32 months, took part in standardised language tests measuring productive and comprehensive vocabulary. Although previous research has investigated this, not all variables known to affect vocabulary development have been controlled for. This study controlled for socio-economic status, birth order and different levels of exposure to English and compared these to test scores. Results suggest exposure is a significant predictor of productive (p = .01) and comprehensive (p < .01) language development. A greater difference was found between groups for production (p < .01) supporting previous research suggesting production may be more problematic than comprehension for bilingual children.

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