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The development of vocabulary in English as a second language children and its role in predicting word recognition ability

  • MAUREEN JEAN (a1) and ESTHER GEVA (a1)


Do older English as a second language (ESL) children have the same knowledge of word meanings as English as a first language (EL1) children? How important is vocabulary's role in predicting word recognition in these groups? This study sought to answer these questions by examining the profiles of ESL and EL1 upper elementary aged children, for a 2-year period starting in Grade 5. Multivariate analyses revealed that (a) EL1 and ESL groups did not differ on underlying processing components (e.g., phonological awareness [PA], rapid automatized naming [RAN], and working memory [WM]) or on word recognition, but ESL children continued to lag behind their EL1 peers on knowledge of word meanings that correspond approximately to their grade level; and (b) vocabulary knowledge (root words and receptive vocabulary), explained a small proportion of additional variance on word recognition concurrently and longitudinally after accounting for the contributions of PA, RAN, and WM.


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ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE Maureen Jean, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, 9th floor, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6, Canada. E-mail:


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The development of vocabulary in English as a second language children and its role in predicting word recognition ability

  • MAUREEN JEAN (a1) and ESTHER GEVA (a1)


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