ERIC Number: EJ968176
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
The Receptive-Expressive Gap in the Vocabulary of Young Second-Language Learners: Robustness and Possible Mechanisms
Gibson, Todd A.; Oller, D. Kimbrough; Jarmulowicz, Linda; Ethington, Corinna A.
Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v15 spec iss n1 p102-116 Jan 2012
Adults and children learning a second language show difficulty accessing expressive vocabulary that appears accessible receptively in their first language (L1). We call this discrepancy the receptive-expressive gap. Kindergarten Spanish (L1)-English (L2) sequential bilinguals were given standardized tests of receptive and expressive vocabulary in both Spanish and English. We found a small receptive-expressive gap in English but a large receptive-expressive gap in Spanish. We categorized children as having had high or low levels of English exposure based on demographic variables and found that the receptive-expressive gap persisted across both levels of English exposure. Regression analyses revealed that variables predicting both receptive and expressive vocabulary scores failed to predict the receptive-expressive gap. The results suggest that the onset of the receptive-expressive gap in L1 may have been abrupt. We discuss possible mechanisms underlying the phenomenon.
Descriptors: Standardized Tests, Language Acquisition, Vocabulary Development, Expressive Language, Receptive Language, Spanish, English (Second Language), Regression (Statistics), Kindergarten, Bilingualism, Classification, Prediction, Scores, Language Processing, Second Language Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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