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  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In this article various aspects of word knowledge and their relations to the text comprehension skills have been investigated for 197 monolingual and bilingual children in grade 5. All children performed three different vocabulary tasks, measuring breadth (quantitative knowledge: 'how many words do they know?'), depth (qualitative knowledge: 'how well do they know (paradigmatic and decontextualized, syntagmatic) relationships between words?'), and words used in school texts (scientific jargon: 'do they know the science-specific meaning of words?'). Besides this, a text comprehension task was administered investigate the relative importance of these different aspects of word knowledge to text comprehension. The analyses showed that bilingual children performed significantly lower on all tasks as compared to their monolingual peers. The highest differences were found on breadth of vocabulary, the lowest on the depth task. Besides this, the breadth task showed the highest correlations with text comprehension, and the depth task the lowest. These conclusions hold for both monolinguals and bilinguals. Finally, a (stepwise) multiple regression analysis revealed that the breadth task explained 38% of the variance of the scores on the text comprehension task. The depth task adjusts to that only 2%. Analyses for monolingual and bilingual children separately yielded comparable outcomes. From this, we conclude that for both monolingual and bilingual children text comprehension is determined by breadth of vocabulary.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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