Preschoolers Learning Hmong and English Lexical-Semantic Skills in L1 and L2 Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2005
Preschoolers Learning Hmong and English
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Pui Fong Kan
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Kathryn Kohnert
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Contact author: Kathryn Kohnert, 115 Shevlin Hall, 164 Pillsbury Dr, S.E., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: kohne005@umn.edu
  • Lisa Bedore served as guest associate editor on this article.
    Lisa Bedore served as guest associate editor on this article.×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2005
Preschoolers Learning Hmong and English
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2005, Vol. 48, 372-383. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/026)
History: Received September 22, 2003 , Revised March 17, 2004 , Accepted July 26, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2005, Vol. 48, 372-383. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/026)
History: Received September 22, 2003; Revised March 17, 2004; Accepted July 26, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 51

Picture naming and picture identification tasks were used to investigate lexical-semantic skills in young children learning Hmong as a first language (L1) and English as a second language (L2). A total of 19 children, ages 3;4 (years;months)-5;2, participated in this study. Performance on lexical tasks was analyzed as a function of development (older and younger participants), language (Hmong and English), modality (receptive and expressive skills), and the nature of total or "composite" vocabulary scores (translation equivalents or singles, reflecting comparable forms in both languages as compared to concepts lexicalized into only 1 language). Older participants outperformed younger participants in English, but not Hmong, indicating a relative stabilization of L1 skills, alongside more robust growth in L2. The difference between expressive and receptive performance was also much greater in Hmong than English. Composite scores were always greater than single language scores and the proportion of translation equivalents increased with age.

Acknowledgments
Funding for this research was provided by a grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R03 DC05542) titled “Cognitive-Linguistic Processing in LI and L2 Learners” awarded to K. Kohnert. Additional funding was provided by the University of Minnesota to Pui Fong Kan from the Bryng Bryngelson Communication Disorders Research Fund for graduate students, and to K. Kohnert from the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship.
Portions of this study were presented at the 2002 joint conference of the Symposium for Research in Child Language Disorders and International Conference for the Study of Child Language in Madison, WI, and at the 2002 Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Atlanta, GA. We thank preschool teachers, center administrators, families, and children for their participation. We are particularly grateful to Paj Yang, Eepay Yang, and Maiyia Yang for assistance with stimuli development and data collection.
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