Volume 10, Issue 5
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper investigates vocabulary comprehension and production in 46 bilingual Swedish-German children age 4–6 growing up in Sweden. Using a newly developed tool, the Cross-linguistic Lexical Task (CLT, Haman, Łuniewska & Pomiechowska 2015), the children’s receptive and expressive vocabulary knowledge of nouns and verbs is assessed in both their languages, compared to each other and over age. Performance on test items of different word types (nouns/verbs; cognates/non-cognates) is also explored. There are clear vocabulary gains with age for the majority language Swedish, but not for the minority (home) language German. Overall vocabulary scores are higher in Swedish than in German, but this difference only concerns verbs, not nouns. Cognate facilitation occurs both ways in these closely-related languages, but is stronger in the minority language German. We suggest that what at first sight looks like a noun advantage on the German CLT is largely an effect of Swedish/German cognate status.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Akinci, M.-A.
    (2017) Cognate and non-cognate lexical access of Turkish-French bilingual and French and Turkish monolingual 5-year-olds. Presentation atISB 11, 11–15 June 2017, Limerick: University of Limerick.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Akoğlu, G. & Yağmur, K.
    (2016) First-language skills of bilingual Turkish immigrant children growing up in a Dutch submersion context. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism19(6), 706–721. 10.1080/13670050.2016.1181605
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2016.1181605 [Google Scholar]
  3. Armon-Lotem, S. , de Jong, J. & Meir, N.
    (eds (2015) Assessing multilingual children: Disentangling bilingualism from language impairment. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783093137
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783093137 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bialystok, E. , Luk, G. , Peets, K. F. & Yang, S.
    (2010) Receptive vocabulary differences in monolingual and bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition13(4), 525–531. 10.1017/S1366728909990423
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728909990423 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bohnacker, U. , Lindgren, J. & Öztekin, B.
    (2016) Turkish- and German-speaking bilingual 4-to-6-year-olds living in Sweden: Effects of age, SES and home language input on vocabulary production. Journal of Home Language Research1, 17–40.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Brenders, P. , van Hell, J. G. & Dijkstra, T.
    (2011) Word recognition in child second language learners: Evidence from cognates and false friends. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology109(4), 383–396. 10.1016/j.jecp.2011.03.012
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2011.03.012 [Google Scholar]
  7. Buac, M. , Gross, M. & Kaushanskaya, M.
    (2014) The role of primary caregiver vocabulary knowledge in the development of bilingual children’s vocabulary skills. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research57(5), 1804–1816. 10.1044/2014_JSLHR‑L‑13‑0055
    https://doi.org/10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0055 [Google Scholar]
  8. Carroll, S. E.
    (1992) On cognates. Second Language Research8(2), 93–119.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Cobo-Lewis, A. B. , Pearson, B. Z. , Eilers, R. E. & Umbel, V. C.
    (2002) Effects of bilingualism and bilingual education on oral and written English skills: A multi-factor study of standardized test outcomes (pp.64–97); Effects of bilingualism and bilingual education on oral and written Spanish skills: A multi-factor study of standardized test outcomes (pp.98–117). In: D. K. Oller & R. E. Eilers (eds.), Language and literacy in bilingual children. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Costa, A. , Caramazza, A. & Sebastián-Gallés, N.
    (2000) The cognate facilitation effect: Implications for models of lexical access. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition26(5), 1283–1296.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Costa, A. , Santesteban, M. & Caño, A.
    (2005) On the facilitatory effects of cognate words in bilingual speech production. Brain and Language94(1), 94–103. 10.1016/j.bandl.2004.12.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2004.12.002 [Google Scholar]
  12. Davidoff, J. & Masterson, J.
    (1996) The development of picture naming: Differences between verbs and nouns. Journal of Neurolinguistics9(2), 69–83. 10.1016/0911‑6044(96)00004‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0911-6044(96)00004-8 [Google Scholar]
  13. de Groot, A. M.
    (1992) Determinants of word translation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition18(5), 1001–1018.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. de Groot, A. M. B. & Nas, G. L. J.
    (1991) Lexical representation of cognates and noncognates in compound bilinguals. Journal of Memory and Language30, 90–123. 10.1016/0749‑596X(91)90012‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-596X(91)90012-9 [Google Scholar]
  15. Dijkstra, J. , Kuiken, F. , Jorna, R. J. & Klinkenberg, E. L.
    (2016) The role of majority and minority language input in the early development of a bilingual vocabulary. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition19(01), 191–205. 10.1017/S1366728915000012
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728915000012 [Google Scholar]
  16. Friel, B. M. & Kennison, S. M.
    (2001) Identifying German-English cognates, false cognates, and non-cognates: Methodologial issues and descriptive norms. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition4(3), 249–274. 10.1017/S1366728901000438
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728901000438 [Google Scholar]
  17. Gagarina, N. , Armon-Lotem, S. , Altman, C. , Burstein-Feldman, Z. , Klassert, A. , Topaj, N. , Golcher, F. & Walters, J.
    (2014) Age, input quantity and their effect on linguistic performance in the home and societal language among Russian-German and Russian-Hebrew preschool children. In: R. K. Silbereisen , P. F. Titzmann , & Y. Shovit (eds.), The challenges of diaspora migration: Interdisciplinary perspectives on Israel and Germany (pp.63–82). Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Gagarina, N. , Posse, D. , Düsterhöft, S. , Golcher, F. & Topaj, N.
    (2017) Bilingual lexicon development in German in preschool children with the home languages Russian and Turkish. In: H. Peukert & I. Gogolin (eds.), Dynamics of linguistic diversity. pp.125–142. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/hsld.6.07gag
    https://doi.org/10.1075/hsld.6.07gag [Google Scholar]
  19. Gathercole, V. C. M. , Thomas, E. M. , Roberts, E. J. , Hughes, C. O. & Hughes, E. K.
    (2013) Why assessment needs to take exposure into account: Vocabulary and grammatical abilities in bilingual children. In: V. C. M. Gathercole (ed.), Issues in the assessment of bilinguals (pp.20–55). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783090105‑004
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783090105-004 [Google Scholar]
  20. Gopnik, A. & Choi, S.
    (1995) Names, relational words and cognitive development in English and Korean speakers: Nouns are not always learned before verbs. In: M. Tomasello & W. Merriman (eds.), Beyond names for things: Young children’s acquisition of verbs (pp.63–80). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Grasso, S. M. , Peña, E. D. , Bedore, L. M. , Hixon, J. G. & Griffin, Z. M.
    (2018) Cross-linguistic cognate production in Spanish-English bilingual children with and without language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Published ahead of print19 February 2018. 10.1044/2017_JSLHR‑L‑16‑0421
    https://doi.org/10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0421 [Google Scholar]
  22. Groenen, G. M.
    (2011) The effects of internal and external factors and cognates on the vocabulary scores of Dutch-English bilingual children. Unpublished M.A. thesis. Utrecht: Utrecht University.
  23. Haman, E. , Łuniewska, M. , Hansen, P. , Simonsen, H. G. , Chiat, S. , Bjekić, J. , Blažienė, A. , Chyl, K. , Dabašinskienė, I. , Engel de Abreu, P. , Gagarina, N. , Gavarró, A. , Håkansson, G. , Harel, E. , Holm, E. , Kapalková, S. , Kunnari, S. , Levorato, C. , Lindgren, J. , Mieszkowska, K. , Montes Salarich, L. , Potgieter, A. , Ribu, I. , Ringblom, N. , Rinker, T. , Roch, M. , Slančová, D. , Southwood, F. , Tedeschi, R. , Tuncer, A. M. , Ünal-Logacev, Ö. , Vuksanović, J. & Armon-Lotem, S.
    (2017) Noun and verb knowledge in monolingual preschool children across 17 languages: Data from cross-linguistic lexical tasks (LITMUS-CLT). Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics31(11–12), 818–843. 10.1080/02699206.2017.1308553
    https://doi.org/10.1080/02699206.2017.1308553 [Google Scholar]
  24. Haman, E. , Łuniewska, M. & Pomiechowska, B.
    (2015) Designing cross-linguistic lexical tasks (CLTs) for bilingual preschool children. In: S. Armon-Lotem , J. de Jong , & N. Meir (eds.), Methods for assessing multilingual children: disentangling bilingualism from Language Impairment (pp.196–239). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783093137‑010
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783093137-010 [Google Scholar]
  25. Haman, E. , Wodniecka, Z. , Marecka, M. , Szewczyk, J. , Białecka-Pikul, M. , Otwinowska, A. , Mieszkowska, K. , Łuniewska, M. , Kołak, J. , Miękisz, A. , Kacprzak, A. , Banasik, N. & Foryś-Nogala, M.
    (2017) How does L1 and L2 exposure impact L1 performance in bilingual children? Evidence from Polish-English migrants to the United Kingdom. Frontiers in Psychology8. 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01444
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01444 [Google Scholar]
  26. Hansen, P. , Simonsen, H. G. , Łuniewska, M. , & Haman, E.
    (2017) Validating the psycholinguistic aspects of LITMUS-CLT: Evidence from Polish and Norwegian. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 31(11–12), 910–930. 10.1080/02699206.2017.1307455
    https://doi.org/10.1080/02699206.2017.1307455 [Google Scholar]
  27. Hoff, E. , Core, C. , Place, S. , Rumiche, R. , Señor, M. & Parra, M.
    (2012) Dual language exposure and early bilingual development. Journal of Child Language39(1), 1–27. 10.1017/S0305000910000759
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000910000759 [Google Scholar]
  28. Hoff, E. , Rumiche, R. , Burridge, A. , Ribot, K. M. & Welsh, S. N.
    (2014) Expressive vocabulary development in children from bilingual and monolingual homes: A longitudinal study from two to four years. Early Childhood Research Quarterly29, 433–444.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Kelley, A. & Kohnert, K.
    (2012) Is there a cognate advantage for typically developing Spanish-speaking English-language learners?Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools43(2), 191–204. 10.1044/0161‑1461(2011/10‑0022)
    https://doi.org/10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0022) [Google Scholar]
  30. Kauschke, C. , Lee, H.-W. & Pae, S.
    (2007) Similarities and variation in noun and verb acquisition: A crosslinguistic study of children learning German, Korean, and Turkish. Language and Cognitive Processes22(7), 1045–1072. 10.1080/01690960701307348
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01690960701307348 [Google Scholar]
  31. Klassert, A. , Gagarina, N. & Kauschke, C.
    (2014) Object and action naming in Russian and German-speaking monolingual and bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition17(1), 73–88. 10.1017/S1366728913000096
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728913000096 [Google Scholar]
  32. Kohnert, K. , Windsor, J. & Miller, R.
    (2004) Crossing borders: Recognition of Spanish words by English speaking children with and without language impairment. Applied Psycholinguistics25(4), 543–564. 10.1017/S0142716404001262
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716404001262 [Google Scholar]
  33. Leseman, P. P. M.
    (2000) Bilingual vocabulary development of Turkish preschoolers in the Netherlands. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development21(2), 93–112. 10.1080/01434630008666396
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434630008666396 [Google Scholar]
  34. Lindgren, J.
    (2017) Ordförrådsutveckling hos förskolebarn med svenska som modersmål: En studie med Cross-linguistic Lexical Task (CLT) [Vocabulary development in preschool children with Swedish as mother tongue: A study with Cross-linguistic Lexical Task (CLT)]. In: E. Sköldberg , M. Andréasson , H. Adamsson Eryd , F. Lindahl , J. Prentice , S. Lindström & M. Sandberg (eds.), Svenskans beskrivning 35: förhandlingar vid trettiofemte sammankomsten Göteborg 11–13 maj 2016 (pp.161–174). Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. (2018) Developing narrative competence: Swedish, Swedish-German and Swedish-Turkish children aged 4–6. Ph.D. thesis, Uppsala: Uppsala University.
  36. Lotto, L. & de Groot, A. M. B.
    (1998) Effects of learning method and word type on acquiring vocabulary in an unfamiliar language. Language Learning48(1), 31–69. 10.1111/1467‑9922.00032
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9922.00032 [Google Scholar]
  37. Łuniewska, M. , Haman, E. , Armon-Lotem, S. , Etenkowski, B. , Southwood, F. , Anđelković, D. , Blom, E. , Boerma, T. , Chiat, S. , de Abreu, P. E. , Gagarina, N. , Gavarró, A. , Håkansson, G. , Hickey, T. , Jensen de López, K. , Marinis, T. , Popović, M. , Thordardottir, T. , Blažienė, A. , Cantú Sánchez, M. , Dabašinskienė, I. , Ege, P. , Ehret, I.-A. , Fritsche, N.-A. , Gatt, D. , Janssen, B. , Kambanaros, M. , Kapalková, S. , Kronqvist, B. , Kunnari, S. , Levorato, C. , Nenonen, O. , Nic Fhlannchadha, S. , O’Toole, C. , Polišenská, K. , Pomiechowska, B. , Ringblom, N. , Rinker, T. , Roch, M. , Savić, M. , Slančová, D. , Tsimpli, I. A. , & Ünal-Logacev, Ö.
    (2016) Ratings of age of acquisition of 299 words across 25 languages: Is there a cross-linguistic order of words?Behavior Research Methods48, 1154–1177. 10.3758/s13428‑015‑0636‑6
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-015-0636-6 [Google Scholar]
  38. Montanari, E. G. , Abel, R. , Graßer, B. & Tschudinovski, L.
    (2018) Do bilinguals create two different sets of vocabulary for two domains? Vocabulary development and overlap in the first years of schooling. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism8(4), 502–522. 10.1075/lab.16021.mon
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.16021.mon [Google Scholar]
  39. Otwinowska, A.
    (2016) Cognate vocabulary in language acquisition and use: Attitudes, awareness, activation. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Parkvall, M.
    (2015) Sveriges språk i siffror: vilka språk talas och av hur många? [Sweden’s languages in numbers: which languages are spoken and by how many speakers?]. Stockholm: Språkrådet/Morfem.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Pearson, B. Z. , Fernández, S. C. , Lewedag, V. & Oller, D. K.
    (1997) The relation of input factors to lexical learning by bilingual children. Applied Psycholinguistics18 (1), 41–58.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Pérez, A. M. , Peña, E. D. & Bedore, L. M.
    (2010) Cognates facilitate word recognition in young Spanish-English bilinguals’ test performance. Early Childhood Services4(1), 55–67.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Prevoo, M. J. L. , Malda, M. , Mesman, J. , Emmen, R. A. G. , Yeniad, N. , Van Ijzendoorn, M. H. & Linting, M.
    (2014) Predicting ethnic minority children’s vocabulary from socioeconomic status, maternal language and home reading input: different pathways for host and ethnic language. Journal of Child Language41(5), 963–984. 10.1017/S0305000913000299
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000913000299 [Google Scholar]
  44. Ringblom, N. , Håkansson, G. , & Lindgren, J.
    (2014) Cross-Linguistic Lexical Task: Swedish version (CLT-SWE). Unpublished material.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Rinker, T. , Budde-Spengler, N. & Sachse, S.
    (2017) The relationship between L1 and L2 lexical development in young Turkish-German children. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism20(2), 218–233. 10.1080/13670050.2016.1179260
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2016.1179260 [Google Scholar]
  46. Rinker, T. , & Gagarina, N.
    (2014) Cross-Linguistic Lexical Task: German version (CLT-DE). Unpublished material.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Scheele, A. F. , Leseman, P. P. M. & Mayo, A. Y.
    (2010) The home language environment of monolingual and bilingual children and their language proficiency. Applied Psycholinguistics31(1), 117–140. 10.1017/S0142716409990191
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716409990191 [Google Scholar]
  48. Schelletter, C.
    (2002) The effect of form similarity on bilingual children’s lexical development. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition5(2), 93–107. 10.1017/S1366728902000214
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728902000214 [Google Scholar]
  49. Sheng, L. , Lam, B. P. W. , Cruz, D. & Fulton, A.
    (2016) A robust demonstration of the cognate facilitation effect in first-language and second-language naming. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology141, 229–238. 10.1016/j.jecp.2015.09.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2015.09.007 [Google Scholar]
  50. Sherkina-Lieber, M.
    (2004) The cognate facilitation effect in bilingual speech processing: The case of Russian-English bilingualism. Cahiers Linguistiques d’Ottawa32, 108–121.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Stadthagen-González, H. , Gathercole, V. C. M. , Pérez-Tattam, R. & Yavas, F.
    (2013) Vocabulary assessment of bilingual adults: To cognate or not to cognate. In: V. C. M. Gathercole (ed.), Solutions for the assessment of bilinguals (pp.125–145). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783090150‑009
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783090150-009 [Google Scholar]
  52. Statistics Sweden
    Statistics Sweden (2017) Statistikdatabasen. Retrieved22 March 2018fromwww.statistikdatabasen.scb.se
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Sweet, H.
    (1899) The practical study of languages: A guide for teachers and learners. London: J.M. Dent.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Thordardottir, E.
    (2011) The relationship between bilingual exposure and vocabulary development. International Journal of Bilingualism15(4), 426–445. 10.1177/1367006911403202
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1367006911403202 [Google Scholar]
  55. Tonzar, C. , Lotto, L. & Job, R.
    (2009) L2 vocabulary acquisition in children: Effects of learning method and cognate status. Language Learning59(3), 623–646. 10.1111/j.1467‑9922.2009.00519.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2009.00519.x [Google Scholar]
  56. Uccelli, P. & Páez, M. M.
    (2007) Narrative and vocabulary development of bilingual children from kindergarten to first grade: Developmental changes and associations among English and Spanish skills. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools38(3), 225–236. 10.1044/0161‑1461(2007/024)
    https://doi.org/10.1044/0161-1461(2007/024) [Google Scholar]
  57. Umbel, V. M. , Pearson, B. Z. , Fernández, M. C. & Oller, D. K.
    (1992) Measuring bilingual children’s receptive vocabularies. Child Development63, 1012–1020. 10.2307/1131250
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1131250 [Google Scholar]
  58. Vermeer, A.
    (2001) Breadth and depth of vocabulary in relation to L1/L2 acquisition and frequency of input. Applied Psycholinguistics22(2), 217–234. 10.1017/S0142716401002041
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716401002041 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error