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Biling (Camb Engl). 2010 Oct;13(4):525-531.

Receptive vocabulary differences in monolingual and bilingual children.

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York University, Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest.
Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest.
York University.
York University, Tyndale University College.


Studies often report that bilingual participants possess a smaller vocabulary in the language of testing than monolinguals, especially in research with children. However, each study is based on a small sample so it is difficult to determine whether the vocabulary difference is due to sampling error. We report the results of an analysis of 1,738 children between 3 and 10 years old and demonstrate a consistent difference in receptive vocabulary between the two groups. Two preliminary analyses suggest that this difference does not change with different language pairs and is largely confined to words relevant to a home context rather than a school context.

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