Comparing Bilingual and Monolingual Toddlers' Expressive Vocabulary Size Revisiting Rescorla and Achenbach (2002) Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   October 01, 2004
Comparing Bilingual and Monolingual Toddlers' Expressive Vocabulary Size
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janet L. Patterson
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: jpatters@unm.edu
  • Janet L. Patterson, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of New Mexico, 1712 Lomas NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131. E-mail: jpatters@unm.edu
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   October 01, 2004
Comparing Bilingual and Monolingual Toddlers' Expressive Vocabulary Size
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1213-1215. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/089)
History: Received January 20, 2004 , Accepted February 23, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2004, Vol. 47, 1213-1215. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/089)
History: Received January 20, 2004; Accepted February 23, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6
In their 2002 report on “Use of the Language Development Survey (LDS) in a National Probability Sample of Children 18 to 35 Months Old,” Rescorla and Achenbach provided a wealth of information on parental reports of young children’s expressive language and behavioral problems. Their research purposes included identifying the effects of age, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), ethnicity, and bilingual versus monolingual home environments on 278 young children’s mean vocabulary score and mean phrase length based on a parent report checklist, the LDS. Their sample included 68 children from homes in which one or more languages other than English were spoken. Because all parents in the study spoke English sufficiently to complete the LDS and the behavioral scales, the children from homes in which languages other than English were spoken were from bilingual and multilingual families. The authors classified this group of children as bilingual, and they reported that the bilingual children’s mean vocabulary was smaller than that of the children from monolingual English-speaking homes. Although their study extends our knowledge of expressive vocabulary and early phrase length among monolingual toddlers, the study methods are inadequate for comparing bilingual and monolingual children’s performance. The inadequacy of the study design for comparing bilinguals to monolinguals is important because their reported finding of smaller vocabulary size among bilingual toddlers compared with monolingual toddlers might be erroneously interpreted as evidence that bilinguals are at a disadvantage in early language learning.
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