Preschoolers Learning Hmong and English: Lexical-Semantic Skills in L1 and L2

Pui Fong Kan; Kohnert, Kathyrn
April 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2005, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p372
Academic Journal
Picture naming and picture identification tasks were used to investigate lexical-semantic skills in young children learning Hmong as a first language (L1) and English as a second language (L2). A total of 19 children, ages 3;4 (years;months)-5;2, participated in this study. Performance on lexical tasks was analyzed as a function development (older and younger participants), language (Hmong and English), modality (receptive and expressive skills), and the nature of total or "composite" vocabulary scores (translation equivalents or singles, reflecting comparable forms both languages as compared to concepts lexicalized into only 1 language). Older participants outperformed younger participants in English, but not Hmong, indicating relative stabilization of L1 skills, alongside more robust growth in L2. The difference between expressive and receptive performance was also much greater in Hmong than English. Composite scores were always greater than single language scores and the proportion of translation equivalents increased with age.


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