Early Home Language Use and Later Vocabulary Development

Journal of Educational Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.52). 07/2011; 103(3):535-546. DOI: 10.1037/a0023655


This longitudinal study examined the association between early patterns of home language use (age 4.5 years) and vocabulary growth (ages 4.5 to 12 years) in English and Spanish for 180 Spanish-speaking language minority learners followed from ages 4.5 to 12 years. Standardized measures of vocabulary were administered to children from ages 4.5 to 12 years, and home language use was assessed via parent survey at study entry. Three predominant home language use patterns were identified: mostly Spanish, equal amounts of Spanish and English, and mostly English. Individual growth modeling results demonstrated initial English vocabulary differences between the three language groups, with the mostly English group outperforming the other two language groups. However, the rate of growth for the equal amounts and mostly Spanish groups surpassed that of the mostly English group; by age 12 years, the gaps among the 3 groups had narrowed, but participants' vocabulary skills remained below national norms. In contrast, students' patterns of Spanish vocabulary growth did not vary, resulting in parallel but widening gaps through age 12 years. Results suggest that early Spanish use in language minority learners' homes, in and of itself, does not interfere with the development of English vocabulary. However, despite their English instructional context, all learners' vocabulary knowledge was below average and the gap compared with national norms persisted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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Available from: Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Jan 26, 2015
    • "Other studies of low-income Hispanic children have similarly reported lower language abilities compared to monolingual English speakers in the United States (Lonigan et al., 2013; Mancilla-Martinez & Lesaux, 2011; Snow & Kim, 2007; Uccelli & Paez, 2007; Vagh et al., 2009) or monolingual Spanish speakers not in the United States (Páez, Tabors, & López, 2007). However, in some studies, researchers were focused on comparing the English skills of older bilingual Hispanic children with considerable exposure to a second language to those of monolingual English speakers (Lonigan et al., 2013; Uccelli & Paez, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research findings: The roles of child lexical diversity and maternal sensitivity in the development of young children's inhibitory control were examined in 100 low-income Hispanic Spanish-speaking children. Child communication utterances at age 2½ years were transcribed from 10-min mother-child interactions to quantify lexical diversity. Maternal behavior was rated independently from the interactions. Inhibitory control was measured with a battery of tasks at ages 2½ and 3½. Greater maternal sensitivity was correlated with higher vocabulary at 2½. Greater vocabulary predicted positive growth in child inhibitory control skills from ages 2½ to 3½ in multivariable regression models that controlled for maternal education, family income, the home environment, and mothering quality. Practice or policy: These findings suggest that supporting vocabulary development in low-income Spanish-speaking children is important for the development of inhibitory control skills, an important foundation for school readiness and academic success.
    Early Education and Development 03/2015; 26(5-6):1-21. DOI:10.1080/10409289.2015.1009319 · 0.84 Impact Factor
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    • "Bilingual children's vocabulary performance is modulated by factors like the amount of input they receive in each language (Aukrust, 2007; Hammer, Davison, Lawrence & Miccio, 2009; Hoff et al., 2012; Mancilla-Martinez & Lesaux, 2011; Pearson et al., 1997; Scheele, Leseman & Mayo, 2010) and socio-economic status (SES) of the family (Cobo-Lewis, Pearson, Eilers & Umbel, 2002a, b; Scheele et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate receptive vocabulary achievement among French-English bilinguals in Canada. Standardized test scores of receptive vocabulary were measured in both languages from preschool, early-elementary, and late-elementary French-English bilingual children, and French-English bilingual adults. Mean vocabulary scores across all bilingual age groups were statistically equivalent to or above the standard mean in French and English with the exception of the early-elementary bilinguals who scored below the standard mean on the English vocabulary assessment. Mean vocabulary scores of the preschool and adult bilingual groups were not significantly different from those of their monolingual peers in either language. However, early-elementary and late-elementary bilingual children scored significantly lower than monolinguals on the English vocabulary assessment. The positive sociocultural context for French-English bilingualism in Canada as well as language input changes in school are discussed as underlying reasons for these findings.
    Bilingualism 10/2014; 17(04):810-821. DOI:10.1017/S1366728913000813 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
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