Lexical–Semantic Organization in Bilingual Children: Evidence From a Repeated Word Association Task Purpose This study examined lexical–semantic organization of bilingual children in their 2 languages and in relation to monolingual age-mates. Method Twelve Mandarin–English bilingual and 12 English monolingual children generated 3 associations to each of 36 words. Responses were coded as paradigmatic (dog–cat) or syntagmatic (dog–bark). Results ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2006
Lexical–Semantic Organization in Bilingual Children: Evidence From a Repeated Word Association Task
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Li Sheng
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Karla K. McGregor
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Viorica Marian
    Northwestern University
  • Contact author: Li Sheng, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2240 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208. Email: lil-sh@northwestern.edu
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2006
Lexical–Semantic Organization in Bilingual Children: Evidence From a Repeated Word Association Task
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2006, Vol. 49, 572-587. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/041)
History: Received December 8, 2004 , Revised June 17, 2005 , Accepted October 31, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2006, Vol. 49, 572-587. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/041)
History: Received December 8, 2004; Revised June 17, 2005; Accepted October 31, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 32

Purpose This study examined lexical–semantic organization of bilingual children in their 2 languages and in relation to monolingual age-mates.

Method Twelve Mandarin–English bilingual and 12 English monolingual children generated 3 associations to each of 36 words. Responses were coded as paradigmatic (dog–cat) or syntagmatic (dog–bark).

Results Within the bilingual group, word association performance was comparable and correlated between 1st and 2nd languages. Bilingual and monolingual children demonstrated similar patterns of responses, but subtle group differences were also revealed. When between-group comparisons were made on English measures, there was a bilingual advantage in paradigmatic responding during the 1st elicitation and for verbs.

Conclusion Results support previous studies in finding parallel development in bilinguals' 1st- and 2nd-language lexical–semantic skills and provide preliminary evidence that bilingualism may enhance paradigmatic organization of the semantic lexicon.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by a graduate research grant from Northwestern University to Li Sheng and by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant IR03HD046952-01A1 to Viorica Marian. We thank Kristy Grohne, Anne Graham, Molly Keegan, Kanika So, Han Sun, Onyi Odueze, and Molly Niendorf for assistance with data collection and data analyses. Henrike Blumenfeld, Olga Boukrina, Nadia Cone, Rita Kaushanskaya, Alison Moy, Avital Rabin, Renee Reilly, and Katharina Rohlfing provided helpful input on drafts of this article. We are also indebted to the children and their parents who participated in the study.
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