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Academic Paper


Title: Development of vocabulary in Spanish-speaking and Cantonese-speaking English language learners
Author: Yuuko Uchikoshi
Institution: Harvard University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Spanish
Chinese, Yue
Abstract: This study examines vocabulary growth rates in first and second languages for Spanish-speaking and Cantonese-speaking English language learners from kindergarten through second grade. Growth-modeling results show a within-language effect of concepts about print on vocabulary. Language exposure also had an effect on English vocabulary: earlier English exposure led to larger English vocabulary in kindergarten. There was no interference of early English exposure on native-language vocabulary. Moreover, Cantonese-speaking children had higher English expressive vocabulary scores than Spanish-speaking children and this difference remained for the 3 years. In contrast, although there were no significant differences in first language vocabulary at the start of kindergarten, Spanish-speaking children had steeper growth rates in first-language vocabulary than Cantonese-speaking children, after controlling for language of instruction and first-language concepts about print.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 35, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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