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Title: The acquisition of novel vocabulary in Dutch: An experimental study in Flemish bilingual six-year-olds of Moroccan and Turkish origin
Authors: Vanbuel, Marieke
Boderé, Anneleen
Jaspaert, Koen
Issue Date: 2016
Conference: Psycholinguistics in Flanders 2016 location:Antwerp date:26-27 May 2016
Abstract: Flemish Turkish-heritage children have significant lower language proficiency in Dutch, compared to
their Moroccan-heritage peers (Belfi et al., 2014). Previous studies have shown that existing language
skills in the second language can affect sequential bilingual children’s vocabulary acquisition in the
second language considerably (e.g., Messer, Leseman, Boom & Mayo, 2010). Furthermore, the study of
Cornips, Van der Hoek and Verwer (2006) has shown an effect of bilingual children’s first language on
the acquisition of grammatical gender in Dutch, resulting in different outcomes between Moroccan- and
Turkish-heritage children. Therefore, we investigated the novel word learning of Moroccan- and Turkish-heritage
six-year-olds (N = 52) by means of four dynamic storytelling sessions in which twelve novel
words were incorporated. The children’s conceptual and linguistic knowledge of these words was
extensively tested. Six analyses of covariance were conducted, with origin as a between-subjects factor
and proficiency in Dutch as a covariate. Our findings indicate that Turkish- and Moroccan-heritage
children acquired the novel words to almost the same extent when their prior language proficiency in
Dutch was taken into account. However, Moroccan-heritage children still outperformed their Turkish-heritage
peers producing the novel object labels. We argue that linguistic properties of the children’s
first language may play a role in second language acquisition, suggesting that a different approach to the
stimulation of second language (vocabulary) acquisition in minority children of different ethnic origin
may be necessary.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Centre for Language and Education, Leuven

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