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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: Novel word retention in sequential bilingual children
Author: Pui Fong Kan
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: Children's ability to learn and retain new words is fundamental to their vocabulary development. This study examined word retention in children learning a home language (L1) from birth and a second language (L2) in preschool settings. Participants were presented with sixteen novel words in L1 and in L2 and were tested for retention after either a 2-month or a 4-month delay. Results showed that children retained more words in L1 than in L2 for both of the retention interval conditions. In addition, children's word retention was associated with their existing language knowledge and their fast-mapping performance within and across language. The patterns of association, however, were different between L1 and L2. These findings suggest that children's word retention might be related to the interactions of various components that are operating within a dynamic system.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 41, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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