Children from low-SES (socioeconomic status) and minority language immigrant families are at risk of vocabulary difficulties due to the less varied and complex language in the home environment. Children are less likely to be involved in home language activities (HLA) in interaction with adults in low-SES than in higher-SES families. However, few studies have investigated the HLA variability among low-SES, minority language bilingual immigrant families. This longitudinal study analyzes the frequency and duration of HLA and their predictive roles for expressive vocabulary acquisition in 70 equivalent low-SES monolingual and bilingual toddlers from minority contexts. HLA and vocabulary were assessed at 24 and 30 months in the majority language (Italian) and in total (majority+minority language) using parent and teacher reports. The frequency and duration of HLA in interaction with adults in total, but not in the majority language, at 24 months were similar for the two groups. These activities uniquely accounted for expressive vocabulary at 30 months, after accounting for total vocabulary at 24 months, in both groups. In conclusion, a minority-majority language context is not an additional risk factor for vocabulary acquisition if HLA is considered in interaction with adults in both languages. HLA are proximal environmental protective factors for vocabulary acquisition.

Home Language Activities and Expressive Vocabulary of Toddlers from Low-SES Monolingual Families and Bilingual Immigrant Families

Elena Florit
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Chiara Barachetti
Conceptualization
;
Marinella Majorano
Supervision
;
Manuela Lavelli
Conceptualization
2021

Abstract

Children from low-SES (socioeconomic status) and minority language immigrant families are at risk of vocabulary difficulties due to the less varied and complex language in the home environment. Children are less likely to be involved in home language activities (HLA) in interaction with adults in low-SES than in higher-SES families. However, few studies have investigated the HLA variability among low-SES, minority language bilingual immigrant families. This longitudinal study analyzes the frequency and duration of HLA and their predictive roles for expressive vocabulary acquisition in 70 equivalent low-SES monolingual and bilingual toddlers from minority contexts. HLA and vocabulary were assessed at 24 and 30 months in the majority language (Italian) and in total (majority+minority language) using parent and teacher reports. The frequency and duration of HLA in interaction with adults in total, but not in the majority language, at 24 months were similar for the two groups. These activities uniquely accounted for expressive vocabulary at 30 months, after accounting for total vocabulary at 24 months, in both groups. In conclusion, a minority-majority language context is not an additional risk factor for vocabulary acquisition if HLA is considered in interaction with adults in both languages. HLA are proximal environmental protective factors for vocabulary acquisition.
bilingual immigrant families
expressive vocabulary
home language activities
low-SES (socioeconomic status)
toddlers
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1034457
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