Comparing vocabulary development in Spanish- and Chinese-speaking ELLs: the effects of metalinguistic and sociocultural factors

Comparing vocabulary development in Spanish- and Chinese-speaking ELLs: the effects of... This study evaluated the impact of two metalinguistic factors, English derivational awareness and English–Spanish cognate awareness, and the impact of two sociocultural factors, maternal education and children’s length of residence in Canada, on English Language Learners (ELLs)’ vocabulary knowledge. The participants of the study were 89 Spanish-speaking ELLs, 77 Chinese-speaking ELLs, and a comparison group of 78 monolingual English-speaking children in Grades 4 and 7. The sample included both first-generation (born outside of Canada) and second generation (born in Canada) immigrant children. The study yielded several important findings. First, it confirmed the strong link between derivational awareness and vocabulary knowledge observed in the previous research, and extended this relationship to two groups of ELLs from different first language backgrounds. Second, this study unveiled differences in vocabulary learning between Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking ELLs. While Spanish-speaking children were able to utilize the cognate strategy to learn English words, this strategy was not available for Chinese-speaking ELLs. With respect to the sociocultural factors, length of residence in Canada was significantly related to ELLs’ vocabulary development. Interestingly, length of residence in Canada only influenced the development of noncognate vocabulary, but not cognate vocabulary, in Spanish-speaking ELLs, which provides additional evidence for these children’s use of the cognate strategy. Finally, maternal education was not related to English vocabulary development. The theoretical and educational implications of these findings were discussed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reading and Writing Springer Journals

Comparing vocabulary development in Spanish- and Chinese-speaking ELLs: the effects of metalinguistic and sociocultural factors

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Linguistics; Language and Literature; Psycholinguistics; Education, general; Neurology; Literacy
ISSN
0922-4777
eISSN
1573-0905
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11145-011-9318-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study evaluated the impact of two metalinguistic factors, English derivational awareness and English–Spanish cognate awareness, and the impact of two sociocultural factors, maternal education and children’s length of residence in Canada, on English Language Learners (ELLs)’ vocabulary knowledge. The participants of the study were 89 Spanish-speaking ELLs, 77 Chinese-speaking ELLs, and a comparison group of 78 monolingual English-speaking children in Grades 4 and 7. The sample included both first-generation (born outside of Canada) and second generation (born in Canada) immigrant children. The study yielded several important findings. First, it confirmed the strong link between derivational awareness and vocabulary knowledge observed in the previous research, and extended this relationship to two groups of ELLs from different first language backgrounds. Second, this study unveiled differences in vocabulary learning between Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking ELLs. While Spanish-speaking children were able to utilize the cognate strategy to learn English words, this strategy was not available for Chinese-speaking ELLs. With respect to the sociocultural factors, length of residence in Canada was significantly related to ELLs’ vocabulary development. Interestingly, length of residence in Canada only influenced the development of noncognate vocabulary, but not cognate vocabulary, in Spanish-speaking ELLs, which provides additional evidence for these children’s use of the cognate strategy. Finally, maternal education was not related to English vocabulary development. The theoretical and educational implications of these findings were discussed.

Journal

Reading and WritingSpringer Journals

Published: May 5, 2011

References

  • The critical role of vocabulary development for English language learners
    August, D; Carlo, M; Dressler, C; Snow, C

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