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Academic Paper


Title: How vocabulary size in two languages relates to efficiency in spoken word recognition by young Spanish–English bilinguals
Author: Virginia A Marchman
Institution: Stanford University
Author: Anne Fernald
Institution: Stanford University
Author: Nereyda Hurtado
Institution: Stanford University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Research using online comprehension measures with monolingual children shows that speed and accuracy of spoken word recognition are correlated with lexical development. Here we examined speech processing efficiency in relation to vocabulary development in bilingual children learning both Spanish and English (n=26 ; 2 ; 6). Between-language associations were weak: vocabulary size in Spanish was uncorrelated with vocabulary in English, and children's facility in online comprehension in Spanish was unrelated to their facility in English. Instead, efficiency of online processing in one language was significantly related to vocabulary size in that language, after controlling for processing speed and vocabulary size in the other language. These links between efficiency of lexical access and vocabulary knowledge in bilinguals parallel those previously reported for Spanish and English monolinguals, suggesting that children's ability to abstract information from the input in building a working lexicon relates fundamentally to mechanisms underlying the construction of language.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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