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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: Lexical acquisition over time in minority first language children learning English as a second language
Author: Heather Goldberg
Institution: University of Alberta
Author: Johannes Paradis
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Alberta
Author: Martha Crago
Institution: Dalhousie University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The English second language development of 19 children (mean age at outset = 5 years, 4 months) from various first language backgrounds was examined every 6 months for 2 years, using spontaneous language sampling, parental questionnaires, and a standardized receptive vocabulary test. Results showed that the children's mean mental age equivalency and standard scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Third Edition nearly met native-speaker expectations after an average of 34 months of exposure to English, a faster rate of development than has been reported in some other research. Children displayed the phenomenon of general all-purpose verbs through overextension of the semantically flexible verb do, an indicator of having to stretch their lexical resources for the communicative context. Regarding sources of individual differences, older age of second language onset and higher levels of mother's education were associated with faster growth in children's English lexical development, and nonverbal intelligence showed some limited influence on vocabulary outcomes; however, English use in the home had no consistent effects on vocabulary development.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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