Advertisement

Reading and Writing

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 347–369 | Cite as

Measuring productive elements of multi-word phrase vocabulary knowledge among children with English as an additional or only language

  • Sara A. SmithEmail author
  • Victoria A. Murphy
Article

Abstract

Vocabulary plays a critical role in language and reading development for children, particularly those learning English as an additional language (EAL) (Stahl & Nagy, 2006). Previous research on vocabulary has mainly focused on measuring individual words without considering multi-word phrase knowledge, despite evidence that these items occur frequently in English (Erman & Warren, 2000). Multi-word vocabulary knowledge and its contribution to literacy among children remains underexplored, possibly due to challenges presented in measuring this element of vocabulary and assessing children and learners with EAL. The current study adapted a test format designed for L2 adults (Revier, 2009) to develop a task measuring productive elements of English verb + object phrase knowledge. The measure was administered to 108 children (monolingual and EAL) between ages 7 and 10, along with a battery of standardized assessments. The measure possessed high internal consistency and temporal reliability, and correlated significantly with related vocabulary measures. Results showed significant differences among year groups and language backgrounds. Specifically, patterns in multi-word phrase knowledge across year group differ between children with EAL and monolingual English speakers. Findings are of import for understanding vocabulary acquisition and reading outcomes among both first and second language learners.

Keywords

Bilingualism/ESL Language assessment Child language Vocabulary acquisition Multi-word vocabulary 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to all our participating schools, including teachers, staff, the young learners and their families. We would also like to thank Mairéad McKendry and Sibylla Leon Guerrero for their feedback and support. This study was supported by The International Research Foundation for English Language Education, Educational Testing Service and Funds for Women Graduates.

References

  1. Adams, C., Cooke, R., Crutchley, A., Hesketh, A., & Reeves, D. (2001). Assessment of comprehension and expression 6–11 (ACE 6–11). Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson.Google Scholar
  2. Bahns, J., & Eldaw, M. (1993). Should we teach EFL students collocations? System, 21, 101–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barfield, A., & Gyllstad, H. (2009). Researching collocations in another language. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bialystok, E. (2010). Global–local and trail-making tasks by monolingual and bilingual children: Beyond inhibition. Developmental Psychology, 46, 93–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Biemiller, A. (2005). Size and sequence in vocabulary development: Implications for choosing words for primary grade instruction. In A. Hiebert & M. Kamil (Eds.), Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing research to practice (pp. 223–242). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Bishop, H. (2004). Noticing formulaic sequences: A problem of measuring the subjective. LSO Working Papers in Linguistics, 4, 15–19.Google Scholar
  7. Biskup, D. (1992). L1 influence on learners’ renderings of English collocations: A Polish/German empirical study. In P. J. L. Arnaud & H. Béjoint (Eds.), Vocabulary and applied linguistics (pp. 85–93). London, UK: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Bonk, W. J. (2001). Testing EAL learners’ knowledge of collocations. In T. Hudson & J. D. Brown (Eds.), A focus on language test development: Expanding the language proficiency construct across a variety of tests (technical report #21) (pp. 113–142). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Centre.Google Scholar
  9. Cain, K., & Towse, A. (2008). To get hold of the wrong end of the stick: Reasons for poor idiom understanding in children with reading comprehension difficulties. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 51, 1538–1549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cain, K., Towse, A., & Knight, R. (2009). The development of idiom comprehension: An investigation of semantic and contextual processing skills. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 102, 280–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chall, J. S., Jacobs, V. A., & Baldwin, L. E. (1990). The reading crisis: Why poor children fall behind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Church, K., & Hanks, P. (1990). Word association norms, mutual information, and lexicography. Computational Linguistics, 16, 22–29.Google Scholar
  13. Conklin, K., & Schmitt, N. (2008). Formulaic sequences: Are they processed more quickly than nonformulaic language by native and nonnative speakers? Applied Linguistics, 29, 72–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cooper, T. C. (1999). Processing of idioms by L2 learners of English. TESOL Quarterly, 33, 233–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1997). Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience 10 years later. Developmental Psychology, 33, 934–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Droop, M., & Verhoeven, L. (2003). Language proficiency and reading ability in first- and second-language learners. Reading Research Quarterly, 38, 78–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunn, L. M., Dunn, L. M., Whetton, C., & Pintilie, D. (1982). British picture vocabulary scale. Windsor, UK: NFER-Nelson.Google Scholar
  18. Ellis, N., Simpson-Vlach, R., & Maynard, C. (2008). Formulaic language in native and second language speakers: Psycholinguistics, corpus linguistics, and TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 42, 375–396.Google Scholar
  19. Erman, B., & Warren, B. (2000). The idiom principle and the open choice principle. Text & Talk, 20, 29–62.Google Scholar
  20. Farghal, M., & Obiedat, H. (1995). Collocations: A neglected variable in EFL. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 28, 313–331.Google Scholar
  21. García, G. E. (1991). Factors influencing the English reading test performance of Spanish-speaking Hispanic children. Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 371–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gibbs, R. (1987). Linguistic factors in children’s understanding of idioms. Journal of Child Language, 14, 569–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gibbs, R. (1991). Semantic analyzability in children’s understanding of idioms. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 34, 613–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gibbs, R., Bogdanovich, J., Sykes, J., & Barr, D. (1997). Metaphor in idiom comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 37, 141–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gyllstad, H. (2005). Words that go together well: Developing test formats for measuring learner knowledge of English collocations. In F. Heinat & E. Klingvall (Eds.), The department of English in Lund: Working papers in linguistics (Vol. 5, pp. 1–31). Lund, Sweden: University of Lund.Google Scholar
  26. Hirsh, D., & Nation, P. (1992). What vocabulary size is needed to read unsimplified texts for pleasure? Reading in a Foreign Language, 8, 689.Google Scholar
  27. Hu, H. M., & Nation, P. (2000). What vocabulary size is needed to read unsimplified Texts? Reading in a Foreign Language, 8, 689–696.Google Scholar
  28. Hutchinson, J., Whiteley, H., Smith, C., & Connors, L. (2003). The developmental progression of comprehension-related skills in children learning. EAL Journal of Research in Reading, 26(1), 19–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jaen, M. (2007). A corpus-driven design of a test for assessing the EAL collocational competence of university students. International Journal of English Studies, 7(2), 127–147.Google Scholar
  30. Keshavarz, M. H., & Salimi, H. (2007). Collocational competence and cloze test performance: A study of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17, 81–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kieffer, M., & Lesaux, N. K. (2012). Knowledge of words, knowledge about words: Dimensions of vocabulary in first and second language learners in sixth grade. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 25, 347–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Laufer, B. (1991). The development of L2 lexis in the expression of the advanced learner. The Modern Language Journal, 75, 440–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lesaux, N. K., Rupp, C. K., & Siegel, L. S. (2007). Growth in reading skills of children from diverse linguistic backgrounds: Findings from a 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 821–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Levorato, M. (1999). Idiom comprehension in children: Are the effects of semantic analyzability and context separable? The European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 11, 51–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Levorato, M., & Cacciari, C. (1992). Children’s comprehension and production of idioms: The role of context and familiarity. Journal of Child Language, 19, 415–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levorato, M., & Cacciari, C. (1995). The effects of different tasks on the comprehension and production of idioms in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 60, 261–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Liontas, J. (2002). Context and idiom understanding in second languages. EUROSLA Yearbook, 2, 155–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martinez, R., & Murphy, V. (2011). The effect of frequency and idiomaticity on second language reading comprehension. TESOL Quarterly, 45, 267–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Martinez, R., & Schmitt, N. (2012). A phrasal expressions list. Applied linguistics, 33, 299–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McKay, P. (2006). Assessing young language learners. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Mochizuki, M. (2002). Exploration of two aspects of vocabulary knowledge: Paradigmatic and collocational. Annual Review of English Language, Education in Japan, 13, 121–129.Google Scholar
  42. Nation, I. S. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nation, I. S. (2006). How large a vocabulary is needed for reading and listening? Canadian Modern Language Review/La revue canadienne des langues vivantes, 63, 59–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nattinger, J. R., & DeCarrico, J. S. (1992). Lexical phrases and language teaching. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Nesselhauf, N. (2005). Collocations in a learner corpus. Amsterdam, Holland: Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nippold, M. A. (1998). Later language development: The school-aged and adolescent years. Austin, Texas: Pro-Ed.Google Scholar
  47. Nippold, M. A., & Martin, S. T. (1989). Idiom interpretation in isolation versus context: A developmental study with adolescents. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 32, 59–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nippold, M. A., Moran, C., & Schwatz, I. E. (2001). Idiom understanding in preadolescents: Synergy in action. American Journal of Speech and Language Pathology, 10, 169–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nippold, M. A., & Rudzinski, M. (1993). Familiarity and transparency in idiom explanation: A developmental study of children and adolescents. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 58–66.Google Scholar
  50. Nippold, M. A., & Taylor, C. L. (1995). Judgments of idiom familiarity and transparency: A comparison of children and adolescents. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 45, 384–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pawley, A., & Syder, F. (1983). Two puzzles for linguistic theory: Nativelike selection and nativelike fluency. In J. C. Richards & R. W. Schmidt (Eds.), Language and communication (pp. 191–226). London, UK: Longman.Google Scholar
  52. Pearson, D. P., Hiebert, E. H., & Kamil, M. L. (2007). Vocabulary assessment: What we know and what we need to learn. Reading Research Quarterly, 42, 282–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Poulsen, S. (2005). Collocations as a language resource. A functional and cognitive study in English phraseology. Doctoral dissertation, University of Southern Denmark. Retrieved February 05, 2013, from http://static.sdu.dk/mediafiles/Files/Om_SDU/Fakulteterne/Humaniora/Phd/afhandlinger/2005/Afhandlinger%2048_s_poulsen%20pdf.pdf.
  54. Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Revier, R. L. (2009). Evaluating a new test of whole English collocations. In A. Barfield & H. Gyllstad (Eds.), Researching collocations in another language (pp. 125–138). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  56. Rinaldi, W. (2000). Pragmatic comprehension in secondary school-aged students with specific developmental language disorder. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 35, 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Roth, F. P., Speece, D. L., & Cooper, D. H. (2002). A longitudinal analysis of the connection between oral language and early reading. Journal of Educational Research, 95, 259–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Scarborough, H. S. (2001). Connecting early language and literacy to later reading (dis)abilities: Evidence, theory and practice. In S. B. Neuman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook of early literacy research (Vol. 1, pp. 97–110). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  59. Sinclair, J. (1991). Corpus, concordance, collocation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Siyanova-Chanturia, A., Conklin, K., & van Heuven, W. J. (2011). Seeing a phrase “time and again” matters: The role of phrasal frequency in the processing of multiword sequences. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37, 776–784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Siyanova-Chanturia, A., & Martinez, R. (2014). The idiom principle revisited. Applied Linguistics. doi: 10.1093/applin/amt054.
  62. Stahl, S., & Nagy, W. (2006). Teaching word meanings. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  63. Tannenbaum, K. R., Torgesen, J. K., & Wagner, R. K. (2006). Relationships between word knowledge and reading comprehension in third-grade children. Scientific Studies in Reading, 10, 381–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vellutino, F. R., Tunmer, W. E., Jaccard, J. J., & Chen, R. (2007). Components of reading ability: Multivariate evidence for a convergent skills model of reading development. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11, 3–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Verhoeven, L. (1990). Acquisition of reading in a second language. Reading Research Quarterly, 25, 90–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wechsler, D. (1992). Wechsler individual achievement test. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  67. Wiig, E. H., & Secord, W. (1992). Test of word knowledge. USA: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  68. Wray, A. (2002). Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wray, A. (2008). Formulaic language: Pushing the boundaries. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Women’s StudiesCalifornia State University, East BayHaywardUSA

Personalised recommendations