Majority language vocabulary and nonword repetition skills in children attending minority language immersion education

Vasiliki Chondrogianni, Florence Judge-Claydon, Morna Butcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The present study examined nonword repetition (NWR) and comprehension/production of single-word vocabulary in the majority language (English) in six- to eight-year-old English-Gaelic emergent bilingual children attending Gaelic-medium primary education (GMPE) (primary years 2 and 3). GMPE is an immersion education model found in Scotland where the minority language, Gaelic, is the language of instruction, whereas English is the majority community language, not supported in school in the first three years of primary schooling. All children spoke English as their first language (L1) and had varying exposure to the second language (L2) Gaelic outside the school setting. We investigated how individual factors, such as age and frequency of exposure, and psycholinguistic factors, such as task modality, word class (for vocabulary), frequency, length, and prosody (for NWR), influenced performance. Later exposure to Gaelic and higher nonverbal IQ were contributing predictors of performance for English vocabulary. For NWR, participants with earlier and longer exposure to Gaelic who also used both languages at home more performed significantly better on this task. These results suggest that minority language immersion education differentially affects majority language abilities; later L2 onset benefited L1 vocabulary learning, whereas earlier L2 onset boosted L1 NWR skills in these bilinguals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1107
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Issue number5
Early online date14 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • bilingualism
  • child typical language
  • word learning


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