Vocabulary plays a critical role in language and reading development for children, particularly those learning English as an additional language (EAL) (Stahl & Nagy, 2006). Previous research on vocabulary has mainly focused on measuring individual words without considering multi-word phrase knowledge, despite evidence that these items occur frequently in English (Erman & Warren, 2000). Multi-word vocabulary knowledge and its contribution to literacy among children remains underexplored, possibly due to challenges presented in measuring this element of vocabulary and assessing children and learners with EAL. The current study adapted a test format designed for L2 adults (Revier, 2009) to develop a task measuring productive elements of English verb + object phrase knowledge. The measure was administered to 108 children (monolingual and EAL) between ages 7 and 10, along with a battery of standardized assessments. The measure possessed high internal consistency and temporal reliability, and correlated significantly with related vocabulary measures. Results showed significant differences among year groups and language backgrounds. Specifically, patterns in multi-word phrase knowledge across year group differ between children with EAL and monolingual English speakers. Findings are of import for understanding vocabulary acquisition and reading outcomes among both first and second language learners.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 9, 2014
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