No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article1 Apr 2005

Preschoolers Learning Hmong and English

Lexical-Semantic Skills in L1 and L2

    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 of 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 in both languages as compared to concepts lexicalized into only 1 language). Older participants outperformed younger participants in English, but not Hmong, indicating a 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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