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Lexical Development in Bilingual and Monolingual Infants

In many parts of the world, growing up bilingual is the norm rather than the exception. A substantial proportion of these bilingual children acquire their two languages simultaneously from birth. A major debate in bilingual research is whether bilingual children acquire their first language at the same rate and in the same way as monolingual children. Our research team is interested in the rate and composition of vocabulary development in monolingual and bilingual infants. Our recent publications on this topic have reported that bilinguals’ word comprehension is as accurate and fast as it is in monolinguals. We also found that word recognition in young bilinguals is facilitated (as it is in adults) by the number of translation equivalents in their vocabulary. Among our other recent findings on early bilingualism is the discovery that the cognitive benefits of bilingualism are already present by 24 months of age.

  • DeAnda, S., Hendrickson, K., Zesiger, P., Poulin-Dubois, D., & Friend, M. (2018). Lexical access in the second year: A study of monolingual and bilingual vocabulary development. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 21(2), 314–327. doi:10.1017/S1366728917000220. Full Text
  • Friend, M., Smolak, E., Liu, Y., Poulin-Dubois, D., & Zesiger, P. (2018). A cross-language study of decontextualized vocabulary comprehension in toddlerhood and kindergarten readiness. Developmental Psychology. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1037/dev0000514. Full Text 
  • Friend, M., DeAnda, S., Arias-Trejo, N., Poulin-Dubois, D., & Zesiger, P. (2017). Developmental changes in maternal education and minimal exposure effects on vocabulary in English-and Spanish-learning toddlers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 164, 250–259. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.01.003 Full Text
  • Hendrickson, K., Poulin-Dubois, D., Zesiger, P., & Friend, M. (2017). Assessing a continuum of lexical-semantic knowledge in the 2nd year: A multimodal approach. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.01.003Full Text
  • DeAnda, S., Bosch, L., Poulin-Dubois, D., Zesiger, P., & Friend, M. (2016). The Language Exposure Assessment Tool: Quantifying language exposure in infants and children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0234. Full Text
  • Legacy, J., Reider, J., Crivello, C., Kuzyk, O., Friend, M., Zesiger, P., & Poulin-Dubois, D. (2016). Dog or chien? Translation equivalents in the receptive and expressive vocabularies of young French–English bilinguals. Journal of Child Language. 1–24. doi:10.1017/S030500091 6000295. Full Text
  • Crivello, C., Kuzyk, O., Rodrigues, M., Friend, M., Zesiger, P. & Poulin-Dubois, D. (2016). The cognitive benefits of growing up bilingual: A longitudinal study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2010.10.009. Full text 
  • Legacy, J., Zesiger, P., Friend, M, & Poulin-Dubois, D. (2016). Vocabulary size and speed of word recognition in very young French-English bilinguals: A longitudinal study. Bilingualism, Language and Cognition, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2010.10.00913. Full Text
  • Legacy, J., Zesiger, P., Friend, M., Poulin-Dubois, D. (2016). Vocabulary size, translation equivalents, and efficiency in word recognition in very young bilinguals. Journal of Child Language, 43(04), 760–783. doi:10.1017/S0305000915000252. Full Text
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