English Language Learners' Nonword Repetition Performance: The Influence of Age, L2 Vocabulary Size, Length of L2 Exposure, and L1 Phonology Purpose This study examined individual differences in English language learners' (ELLs) nonword repetition (NWR) accuracy, focusing on the effects of age, English vocabulary size, length of exposure to English, and first-language (L1) phonology. Method Participants were 75 typically developing ELLs (mean age 5;8 [years;months]) whose exposure to English ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2016
English Language Learners' Nonword Repetition Performance: The Influence of Age, L2 Vocabulary Size, Length of L2 Exposure, and L1 Phonology
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tamara Sorenson Duncan
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Johanne Paradis
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • 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 Tamara Sorenson Duncan: tamara.sorensonduncan@ualberta.ca
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Ann Tyler
    Associate Editor: Ann Tyler×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2016
English Language Learners' Nonword Repetition Performance: The Influence of Age, L2 Vocabulary Size, Length of L2 Exposure, and L1 Phonology
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2016, Vol. 59, 39-48. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0020
History: Received January 22, 2014 , Revised March 4, 2015 , Accepted June 14, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2016, Vol. 59, 39-48. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0020
History: Received January 22, 2014; Revised March 4, 2015; Accepted June 14, 2015

Purpose This study examined individual differences in English language learners' (ELLs) nonword repetition (NWR) accuracy, focusing on the effects of age, English vocabulary size, length of exposure to English, and first-language (L1) phonology.

Method Participants were 75 typically developing ELLs (mean age 5;8 [years;months]) whose exposure to English began on average at age 4;4. Children spoke either a Chinese language or South Asian language as an L1 and were given English standardized tests for NWR and receptive vocabulary.

Results Although the majority of ELLs scored within or above the monolingual normal range (71%), 29% scored below. Mixed logistic regression modeling revealed that a larger English vocabulary, longer English exposure, South Asian L1, and older age all had significant and positive effects on ELLs' NWR accuracy. Error analyses revealed the following L1 effect: onset consonants were produced more accurately than codas overall, but this effect was stronger for the Chinese group whose L1s have a more limited coda inventory compared with English.

Conclusion ELLs' NWR performance is influenced by a number of factors. Consideration of these factors is important in deciding whether monolingual norm referencing is appropriate for ELL children.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported through the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program (awarded to Tamara Sorenson Duncan) and grants awarded by the following agencies: The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (awarded to Johanne Paradis and Phyllis Schneider), the Alberta Centre for Child, Family, and Community, Research (awarded to Johanne Paradis and Phyllis Schneider), and the Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (awarded to Johanne Paradis). We thank the families who participated and the Edmonton Public School Board and the Toronto District Catholic School Board for permitting us to recruit participants in their schools. We also express our appreciation to the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative in Edmonton for their dedicated services as interpreters and their help with recruitment. We are grateful to the following student assistants who collected and processed the data: Kyla Coole, Kristyn Emmerzael, Ruiting Jia, Katryna Lysay, Dorothy Pinto, Emily Yiu, and Tatiana Zdorenko.
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