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Clin Linguist Phon. 2017;31(11-12):931-954. doi: 10.1080/02699206.2017.1312533. Epub 2017 May 8.

Quantitative and qualitative differences in the lexical knowledge of monolingual and bilingual children on the LITMUS-CLT task.

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a School of Education, Bar Ilan University , Ramat Gan , Israel.
b Department of English Literature and Linguistic and the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center , Bar Ilan University , Ramat Gan , Israel.


While bilingual children follow the same milestones of language acquisition as monolingual children do in learning the syntactic patterns of their second language (L2), their vocabulary size in L2 often lags behind compared to monolinguals. The present study explores the comprehension and production of nouns and verbs in Hebrew, by two groups of 5- to 6-year olds with typical language development: monolingual Hebrew speakers (N = 26), and Russian-Hebrew bilinguals (N = 27). Analyses not only show quantitative gaps between comprehension and production and between nouns and verbs, with a bilingual effect in both, but also a qualitative difference between monolinguals and bilinguals in their production errors: monolinguals' errors reveal knowledge of the language rules despite temporary access difficulties, while bilinguals' errors reflect gaps in their knowledge of Hebrew (L2). The nature of Hebrew as a Semitic language allows one to explore this qualitative difference in the semantic and morphological level.


Acquisition of nouns and verbs; Russian-Hebrew; bilingualism; lexical errors; lexical knowledge

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