Lexical--Semantic Organization in Bilingual Children: Evidence From a Repeated Word Association Task

lil-sh@northwestern.edu, Li Sheng; McGregor, Karla K.; Marian, Viorica
June 2006
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2006, Vol. 49 Issue 3, p572
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study examined lexical-semantic organization of bilingual children in their 2 languages and in relation to monolingual age-mates. Method: Twelve Mandarin-English bilingual and 12 English monolingual children generated 3 associations to each of 36 words. Responses were coded as paradigmatic (dog-cat) or syntagmatic (dog-bark). Results: Within the bilingual group, word association performance was comparable and correlated between 1st and 2nd languages. Bilingual and monolingual children demonstrated similar patterns of responses, but subtle group differences were also revealed. When between-group comparisons were made on English measures, there was a bilingual advantage in paradigmatic responding during the 1st elicitation and for verbs. Conclusion: Results support previous studies in finding parallel development in bilinguals' 1st- and 2nd-language lexical-semantic skills and provide preliminary evidence that bilingualism may enhance paradigmatic organization of the semantic lexicon.


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