The Role of Primary Caregiver Vocabulary Knowledge in the Development of Bilingual Children's Vocabulary Skills Purpose The present study examined the impact of environmental factors (socioeconomic status [SES], the percent of language exposure to English and to Spanish, and primary caregivers' vocabulary knowledge) on bilingual children's vocabulary skills. Method Vocabulary skills were measured in 58 bilingual children between the ages of 5 and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2014
The Role of Primary Caregiver Vocabulary Knowledge in the Development of Bilingual Children's Vocabulary Skills
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Milijana Buac
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Megan Gross
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Margarita Kaushanskaya
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Margarita Kaushanskaya: kaushanskaya@wisc.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Luigi Girolametto
    Associate Editor: Luigi Girolametto×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2014
The Role of Primary Caregiver Vocabulary Knowledge in the Development of Bilingual Children's Vocabulary Skills
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1804-1816. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0055
History: Received March 7, 2013 , Revised August 6, 2013 , Accepted March 29, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2014, Vol. 57, 1804-1816. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0055
History: Received March 7, 2013; Revised August 6, 2013; Accepted March 29, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose The present study examined the impact of environmental factors (socioeconomic status [SES], the percent of language exposure to English and to Spanish, and primary caregivers' vocabulary knowledge) on bilingual children's vocabulary skills.

Method Vocabulary skills were measured in 58 bilingual children between the ages of 5 and 7 who spoke Spanish as their native language and English as their second language. Data related to language environment in the home, specifically, the percent of language exposure to each language and SES, were obtained from primary caregiver interviews. Primary caregivers' vocabulary knowledge was measured directly using expressive and receptive vocabulary assessments in both languages.

Results Multiple regression analyses indicated that primary caregivers' vocabulary knowledge, the child's percent exposure to each language, and SES were robust predictors of children's English, but not Spanish, vocabulary skills.

Conclusion These findings indicate that in the early school ages, primary caregiver vocabulary skills have a stronger impact on bilingual children's second-language than native-language vocabulary.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R03 DC010465 and R01 DC011750, awarded to Margarita Kaushanskaya, and by the National Institutes of Health Diversity Supplement R03 DC0104565-01 and Training Grant T32 DC005359-10, awarded to Milijana Buac. We would like to thank all of the families who participated in this study as well as the numerous schools that generously aided in participant recruitment. We are grateful to Michelle Batko, Nicole Compty, Katie Engh, Regina Estrada, Marni Garfinkel, Erica Goldstein, Kiran Gosal, Liz Jaramillo, Eva Lopez, Breana Mudrock, Sarah Naumann, Emily Silverberg, and Julie Winer for their assistance with participant recruitment, data collection, and data coding, and to all the members of the Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Lab for their valuable comments on this article.
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