Lexical and Grammatical Associations in Sequential Bilingual Preschoolers PurposeThe authors investigated potential relationships between traditional linguistic domains (words, grammar) in the first (L1) and second (L2) languages of young sequential bilingual preschool children.MethodParticipants were 19 children, ages 2;11 (years;months) to 5;2 (M = 4;3) who began learning Hmong as the L1 from birth and English as the L2 ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2010
Lexical and Grammatical Associations in Sequential Bilingual Preschoolers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathryn Kohnert
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Pui Fong Kan
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Barbara T. Conboy
    University of Redlands, Redlands, CA
  • Contact author: Kathryn Kohnert, Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Science, 115 Shevlin Hall, 164 Pillsbury Dr., SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: kohne005@umn.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   June 01, 2010
Lexical and Grammatical Associations in Sequential Bilingual Preschoolers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 684-698. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0126)
History: Received June 23, 2008 , Revised December 18, 2008 , Accepted August 20, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 684-698. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0126)
History: Received June 23, 2008; Revised December 18, 2008; Accepted August 20, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 16

PurposeThe authors investigated potential relationships between traditional linguistic domains (words, grammar) in the first (L1) and second (L2) languages of young sequential bilingual preschool children.

MethodParticipants were 19 children, ages 2;11 (years;months) to 5;2 (M = 4;3) who began learning Hmong as the L1 from birth and English as the L2 during early childhood. Measures were the number of different words (NDW) and mean length of utterance (MLU) produced during a story retell task and scores on picture identification, an independent measure of receptive vocabulary. Correlations were conducted to determine relationships among measures.

ResultsIn English, there were robust positive relationships between MLU and lexical measures (NDW, Picture Identification). In Hmong, more modest cross-domain associations were evident between lexical measures and MLU. There were positive cross-language links for NDW but more limited cross-domain correspondences between the L1 and the L2.

ConclusionsIn English, relationships between words and grammar were similar to those found in previous studies with monolingual and simultaneous bilingual toddlers. Weaker cross-domain associations in the L1 may reflect participants' greater development in Hmong or typological differences between the L1 and the L2.

Acknowledgments
Support for research and manuscript preparation was provided by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development Grant NICHD-RFA-DC-05-001 and a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship from the University of Minnesota. A portion of these data was presented at the 2006 Symposium for Research in Child Language Disorders in Madison, Wisconsin. We are grateful to the following research assistants for help with data collection and scoring: Vorn Lor, Jy Xiong, Endersen Moua, Chandra Chong Xiong, Olga Campbell, Dongsun Yim, Erika Hoyt, Laura Kluge, and Marjorie Southward. We extend our sincere thanks to teachers and administrators at the Southeast Asian Preschool for support in coordinating testing as well as to the children and families for their participation.
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