NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ955385
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1082-3301
Profiles in Bilingualism: Factors Influencing Kindergartners' Language Proficiency
Dixon, L. Quentin; Wu, Shuang; Daraghmeh, Ahlam
Early Childhood Education Journal, v40 n1 p25-34 Mar 2012
Three common assumptions concerning bilingual children's language proficiency are: (1) their proficiency in two languages is usually unbalanced; (2) low socioeconomic status (SES) indicates low proficiency in both languages; and (3) encouraging parents to speak some societal language at home will promote its development. Examining the vocabulary scores of 282 bilingual Singaporean kindergartners (167 Chinese, 70 Malay, and 45 Tamil), the current study found that these young children were evenly divided among four language profiles: strong in ethnic language (Chinese, Malay or Tamil) or English, strong in both languages, or weak in both. Children with high proficiency in both languages were proportionally represented in the low, middle and high SES groups, demonstrating the achievability of strong vocabulary in two languages for children of different SES. However, low SES children were most at risk for low proficiency in both languages, although many achieved high proficiency in ethnic language or both. Middle and high SES children were most likely to demonstrate low ethnic language with high English proficiency. Children mostly exposed to one language from different sources generally showed strength in that language. Children exposed to both languages at home were most likely to show low proficiency in both languages, although plenty of children exposed to both languages developed high proficiency in English or both. These results affirm previous findings that SES and home language exposure influence bilingual children's proficiency. Implications include the importance of teachers assessing bilingual children's proficiency in both languages and collaborating with parents to develop bilingual children's vocabulary.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore