Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 6, 2019

Standardized and tailor-made tests probe different factors influencing the acquisition of second language vocabulary by children

Marta Marecka ORCID logo, Agnieszka Otwinowska ORCID logo and Anna Jelec ORCID logo

Abstract

Studies investigating the relationship between phonological short term memory, phonological awareness and vocabulary in L2 child learners yield mixed results. Those differences may be caused by the vocabulary assessment tools used in research. Tailor-made vocabulary tests based on the input the L2 learners receive may deliver different results than standardized tests based on L1 norms. To investigate this assumption, we examined the effect of phonological short-term memory and phonological awareness on L2 vocabulary size in child learners using a standardized and a tailor-made test based on L2 participants’ textbooks. The results of both tests were correlated, indicating that they measured the same construct. Results of both tests were influenced by children’s English phonological awareness scores, but while the Standardized Test was related to phonological short-term memory scores, the Textbook Test was related to nonverbal IQ. We suggest that standardised and tailor-made tests tap into two different modes of vocabulary acquisition.

Funding statement: This work was support by the Narodowe Centrum Nauki, Grant Number: 2012/07/N/HS6/00415.

References

Allman, Bohdana. 2005. Vocabulary size and accuracy of monolingual and bilingual preschool children. In James Cohen, Kara T. McAlister, Kellie Rolstad & Jeff MacSwan (eds.), ISB Proceedings of the International Symposium on Bilingualism, 58–77. Somerville: Cascadilla Press.Search in Google Scholar

Anthony, Jason L., Christopher Lonigan, Kimberly Driscoll, Beth M. Phillips & Steven R. Burgess. 2003. Phonological sensitivity: A quasi‐parallel progression of word structure units and cognitive operations. Reading Research Quarterly 38(4). 470–487.10.1598/RRQ.38.4.3Search in Google Scholar

Archibald, Lisa M. D. & Susan E. Gathercole. 2006. Nonword repetition: A comparison of tests. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 49(5). 970–983.10.1044/1092-4388(2006/070)Search in Google Scholar

Baddeley, Alan D. 2007. Working memory, thought, and action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528012.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Baddeley, Alan D., Susan E. Gathercole & Constanza C. Papagno. 1998. The phonological loop as a language learning device. Psychological Review 105(1). 158–173.10.4324/9781315111261-14Search in Google Scholar

Baddeley, Alan D. & Graham J. Hitch. 1975. Working memory. In G. H. Bower (ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation, vol. 8, 47–90. New York: Academic Press.10.1016/S0079-7421(08)60452-1Search in Google Scholar

Bobb, Susan C. & Zofia Wodniecka. 2013. Language switching in picture naming: What asymmetric switch costs (do not) tell us about inhibition in bilingual speech planning. Journal of Cognitive Psychology 25(5). 568–585.10.1080/20445911.2013.792822Search in Google Scholar

Bogdanowicz, Marta. 2009. Nieznany Język [Unknown language]. In Dysleksja 3. Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych.Search in Google Scholar

Bowey, Judith. A. 1996. On the association between phonological memory and receptive vocabulary in five-year-olds. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 63(1). 44–78.10.1006/jecp.1996.0042Search in Google Scholar

Bowey, Judith. A. 2001. Nonword repetition and young children’s receptive vocabulary: A longitudinal study. Applied Psycholinguistics 22(03). 441–469.10.1017/S0142716401003083Search in Google Scholar

Caesar, Lena G. & Paula D. Kohler. 2007. The state of school-based bilingual assessment: Actual practice versus recommended guidelines. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 38. 190–200.10.1044/0161-1461(2007/020)Search in Google Scholar

Cheung, Him. 1996. Nonword span as a unique predictor of second-language vocabulary language. Developmental Psychology 32(5). 867–873.10.1037/0012-1649.32.5.867Search in Google Scholar

Cohen, J. 1992. A power primer. Psychological Bulletin 112(1). 155–159.10.1037/14805-018Search in Google Scholar

Coyle, Do. 2013. Listening to learners: An investigation into ‘successful learning’ across CLIL contexts. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 16(3). 244–266.10.1080/13670050.2013.777384Search in Google Scholar

Dahl, Anne & Mila Vulchanova. 2014. Naturalistic acquisition in an early language classroom. Frontiers in Psychology 5. 1–7.10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00329Search in Google Scholar

De Bot, Kees. 1996. The psycholinguistics of the output hypothesis. Language Learning 46(3). 529–555.10.1111/j.1467-1770.1996.tb01246.xSearch in Google Scholar

de Jong, Peter, F. Marie-Jos Seveke & Marjo van Veen. 2000. Phonological sensitivity and the acquisition of new words in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 76(4). 275–301.10.1006/jecp.1999.2549Search in Google Scholar

Dijkstra, Ton & Walter J B van Heuven. 2002. The architecture of the bilingual word recognition system: From identification to decision. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 5(3). 175–197.10.1017/S1366728902003012Search in Google Scholar

Dunn, Lloyd. M. & Douglas M. Dunn. 2007. Peabody picture vocabulary test. PPVT-4A. Minneapolis, MN: NCS Pearson.10.1037/t15144-000Search in Google Scholar

Dysleksja 3. 2009. Dysleksja 3. Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych.Search in Google Scholar

Estes, Katharine Graf, Julia L Evans & Nicole M Else-Quest. 2007. Differences in the nonword repetition performance of children with and without specific language impairment: A meta-analysis. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 50(1). 177–195.10.1044/1092-4388(2007/015)Search in Google Scholar

EURYDICE. 2012a. Key data on teaching languages at school in Europe. http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/key_data_series/143en.pdf (accessed 6 July 2015).Search in Google Scholar

EURYDICE. 2012b. The system of education in Poland. Warsaw: Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE). http://eurydice.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/system2012.pdf (accessed 6 July 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Farnia, Fatenah & Esther Geva. 2011. Cognitive correlates of vocabulary growth in English language learners. Applied Psycholinguistics 32(04). 711–738.10.1017/S0142716411000038Search in Google Scholar

Fenson, Larry, Virginia A. Marchman & Donna Thal. 2007. MacArthur-Bates communicative development inventories. Baltimore: Brookes Pub.10.1037/t11538-000Search in Google Scholar

Finkbeiner, Matthew S. 2002. Bilingual lexical memory: Towards a psycholinguistic model of adult L2 lexical acquisition, representation, and processing. The University of Arizona PhD Dissertation.Search in Google Scholar

Frey, Meredith C. & Douglas K. Detterman. 2004. Scholastic assessment or g? The relationship between the scholastic assessment test and general cognitive ability. Psychological Science 15(6). 373–378.10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00687.xSearch in Google Scholar

Gardner, Dee. 2004. Vocabulary input through extensive reading: A Comparison of words found in children’s narrative and expository reading materials. Applied Linguistics 25(1). 1–37.10.1093/applin/25.1.1Search in Google Scholar

Gathercole, Susan E. 2006. Nonword repetition and word learning: The nature of the relationship. Applied Psycholinguistics 27. 513–543.10.1017/S0142716406060383Search in Google Scholar

Gathercole, Susan E & Alan D Baddeley. 1989. Evaluation of the role of phonological STM in the development of vocabulary in children: A longitudinal study. Journal of Memory and Language 28(2). 200–213.10.1016/0749-596X(89)90044-2Search in Google Scholar

Gathercole, Susan E. & Alan D. Baddeley. 1990. The role of phonological memory in vocabulary acquisition: A study of young children learning new names. British Journal of Psychology 81(4). 439–454.10.1111/j.2044-8295.1990.tb02371.xSearch in Google Scholar

Gathercole, Susan E. & Elvira V. Masoura. 2003. Contrasting contributions of phonological short‐term memory and long‐term knowledge to vocabulary learning in a foreign language. Memory 13(3-4). 422–429.10.1080/09658210344000323Search in Google Scholar

Gathercole, Susan E, Catherine S Willis, Hazel Emslie & Alan D Baddeley. 1992. Phonological memory and vocabulary development during the early school years: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology 28(5). 887–898.10.1037/0012-1649.28.5.887Search in Google Scholar

Haman, Ewa, Magdalena Łuniewska & Krzysztof Fronczyk. 2014. Wykorzystanie pojęcia normy w badaniach ilościowych nad rozwojem słownika umysłowego. Poradnik Jezykowy (4/2014). 39–53.Search in Google Scholar

Hu, Chieh-Fang. 2008. Rate of acquiring and processing L2 color words in relation to L1 phonological awareness. The Modern Language Journal 92(1). 39–52.10.1111/j.1540-4781.2008.00685.xSearch in Google Scholar

Hu, Chieh-Fang. 2003. Phonological Memory, Phonological Awareness, and Foreign Language Word Learning. Language Learning 53(3). 429–462.10.1111/1467-9922.00231Search in Google Scholar

Hu, Chieh-Fang & Melanie C. Schuele. 2005. Learning nonnative names: The effect of poor native phonological awareness. Applied Psycholinguistics 26(03). 343–362.10.1017/S0142716405050204Search in Google Scholar

Hulstijn, Jan H. 2001. Intentional and incidental second-language vocabulary learning: A reappraisal of elaboration, rehearsal and automaticity. In Peter Robinson (ed.), Cognition and second language instruction, 258–286. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9781139524780.011Search in Google Scholar

Jones, Gary. 2011. A computational simulation of children’s performance across three nonword repetition tests. Cognitive Systems Research 12(2). 113–121.10.1016/j.cogsys.2010.07.008Search in Google Scholar

Jones, Gary & Bill Macken. 2015. Questioning short-term memory and its measurement: Why digit span measures long-term associative learning. Cognition 144(C). 1–13.10.1016/j.cognition.2015.07.009Search in Google Scholar

Kessels, Roy P C, Esther van Den Berg, Carla Ruis & Augustina M A Brands. 2008. The backward span of the corsi block-tapping task and its association with the WAIS-III digit span. Assessment 15(4). 426–434.10.1177/1073191108315611Search in Google Scholar

Koenig, Katherine A., Meredith C. Frey & Douglas K. Detterman. 2008. ACT and general cognitive ability. Intelligence 36. 153–160.10.1016/j.intell.2007.03.005Search in Google Scholar

Kroll, Judith F. & Annette M. B. De Groot. 1997. Lexical and conceptual memory in the bilingual: Mapping form to meaning in two languages. In Annette M. B. De Groot & Judith F. Kroll (eds.), Tutorials in bilingualism, 169–199. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Search in Google Scholar

Laufer, Batia & Zahava Goldstein. 2004. Testing vocabulary knowledge: Size, strength, and computer adaptiveness. Language Learning 54(3). 399–436.10.1111/j.0023-8333.2004.00260.xSearch in Google Scholar

Laufer, Batia & Bella Rozovski-Roitblat. 2015. Retention of new words: Quantity of encounters, quality of task, and degree of knowledge. Language Teaching Research 19(6). 687–711.10.1177/1362168814559797Search in Google Scholar

Lemhöfer, Kristin & Mirjam Broersma. 2011. Introducing LexTALE: A quick and valid lexical test for advanced learners of English. Behavior Research Methods 44(2). 325–343.10.3758/s13428-011-0146-0Search in Google Scholar

Lumley, Thomas & Alan Miller. 2004. Leaps: Regression subset selection. R package version.Search in Google Scholar

Marecka, Marta, Jakub Szewczyk, Anna Jelec, Donata Janiszewska, Karolina Rataj & Dziubalska-Kołaczyk. Katarzyna. 2018. Different phonological mechanisms facilitate vocabulary learning at early and late stages of language acquisition: Evidence from Polish 9-year-olds learning English. Applied Psycholinguistics 39(1). 1–35.10.1017/S0142716417000455Search in Google Scholar

Martin, Nancy A. & Rick Brownell. 2010. Expressive one-word picture vocabulary test - 4th edition (EOWPVT-4). Novato: Academic Therapy Press.Search in Google Scholar

Martin, Nancy A. & Rick Brownell. 2011. Receptive one-word picture vocabulary test - 4th edition (ROWPVT-4). Novato: Academic Therapy Press.Search in Google Scholar

Masoura, Elvira V. & Susan E. Gathercole. 1999. Phonological short-term memory and foreign language learning. International Journal of Psychology 34(5-6). 383–388.10.1080/002075999399738Search in Google Scholar

Matczak, Anna, Anna Piotrowska & Wanda Ciarkowska. 2008. WISC-R - Skala Inteligencji Wechslera dla Dzieci - Wersja Zmodyfikowana. Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych.Search in Google Scholar

Meara, Paul & Barbara Buxton. 1987. An alternative to multiple choice vocabulary tests. Language Testing 4(2). 142–154.10.1177/026553228700400202Search in Google Scholar

Meara, Paul & Tess Fitzpatrick. 2000. Lex30: An improved method of assessing productive vocabulary in an L2. System 28(1). 19–30.10.1016/S0346-251X(99)00058-5Search in Google Scholar

Metsala, Jamie L. 1999. Young children’s phonological awareness and nonword repetition as a function of vocabulary development. Journal of Educational Psychology 91(1). 3–19.10.1037/0022-0663.91.1.3Search in Google Scholar

Nation, I. 2006. How large a vocabulary is needed for reading and listening? Canadian Modern Language Review 63(1). 59–82.10.3138/cmlr.63.1.59Search in Google Scholar

Palladino, Paola & Marcella Ferrari. 2008. Phonological sensitivity and memory in children with a foreign language learning difficulty. Memory 16(6). 604–625.10.1080/09658210802083072Search in Google Scholar

Perfetti, Charles A & Lesley Hart. 2002. The lexical quality hypothesis. In Ludo Verhoeven, Carsten Elbro & Pieter Reitsma (eds.), Studies in written language and literacy, 189–213. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.10.1075/swll.11.14perSearch in Google Scholar

Port, Robert. 2007. How are words stored in memory? Beyond phones and phonemes. New Ideas in Psychology 25(2). 143–170.10.1016/j.newideapsych.2007.02.001Search in Google Scholar

Ramachandra, Vijayachandra, Lynne E Hewitt & Tim Brackenbury. 2011. The relationship between phonological memory, phonological sensitivity, and incidental word learning. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 40(2). 93–109.10.1007/s10936-010-9157-8Search in Google Scholar

Raven, John C., Teresa Szustrowa & Aleksandra Jaworowska. 2003. Test Matryc Ravena w Wersji Kolorowej (TMK). Warszawa: Pracownia Testów Psychologicznych.Search in Google Scholar

Read, Charles, Zhang Yun-Fei, Nie Hong-Yin & Ding Bao-Qing. 1986. The ability to manipulate speech sounds depends on knowing alphabetic writing. Cognition 24(1-2). 31–44.10.1016/0010-0277(86)90003-XSearch in Google Scholar

Read, John. 1993. The development of a new measure of L2 vocabulary knowledge. Language Testing 10(3). 355–371.10.1177/026553229301000308Search in Google Scholar

Reynolds, Cecil R. 1997. Forward and backward memory span should not be combined for clinical analysis. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology: the Official Journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists 12(1). 29–40.10.1093/arclin/12.1.29Search in Google Scholar

Richardson, John T E. 2007. Measures of short-term memory: A historical review. Cortex 43(5). 635–650.10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70493-3Search in Google Scholar

Rohde, Treena E. & Lee A. Thompson. 2007. Predicting academic achievement with cognitive ability. Intelligence 35(1). 83–92.10.1016/j.intell.2006.05.004Search in Google Scholar

Roodenrys, Steven & Melinda Hinton. 2002. Sublexical or lexical effects on serial recall of nonwords? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning. Memory, and Cognition 28(1). 29–33.10.1037/0278-7393.28.1.29Search in Google Scholar

Rosner, Jerome & Dorothea P. Simon. 1971. The auditory analysis test: An initial report. Journal of Learning disabilities 4(7). 384–392.10.1177/002221947100400706Search in Google Scholar

Schmitt, Norbert, Diane Schmitt & Caroline Clapham. 2001. Developing and exploring the behaviour of two new versions of the vocabulary levels test. Language Testing 18(1). 55–88.10.1177/026553220101800103Search in Google Scholar

Service, Elisabet & Viljo Kohonen. 1995. Is the relation between phonological memory and foreign language learning accounted for by vocabulary acquisition? Applied Psycholinguistics 16(02). 155–172.10.1017/S0142716400007062Search in Google Scholar

Snowling, Margaret J., Shula Chiat & Charles Hulme. 1991. Words, nonwords, and phonological processes: Some comments on gathercole, willis, emslie, and baddeley. Applied Psycholinguistics 12(03). 369–373.10.1017/S0142716400009279Search in Google Scholar

Swain, Merrill. 2005. The output hypothesis: Theory and research. Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning 1. 471–483.Search in Google Scholar

Szewczyk, Jakub M., Marta Marecka, Shula Chiat & Zofia Wodniecka. 2018. Nonword repetition depends on the frequency of sublexical representations at different grain sizes: Evidence from a multi-factorial analysis. Cognition 179. 23–36.10.1016/j.cognition.2018.06.002Search in Google Scholar

Vermeer, Anne. 2001. Breadth and depth of vocabulary in relation to L1/L2 acquisition and frequency of input. Applied Psycholinguistics 22(02). 217–234.10.1017/S0142716401002041Search in Google Scholar

Vitevitch, Michael S & Paul A Luce. 1999. Probabilistic phonotactics and neighborhood activation in spoken word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language 40(3). 374–408.10.1006/jmla.1998.2618Search in Google Scholar

Vitevitch, Michael S & Holly L Storkel. 2013. Examining the acquisition of phonological word forms with computational experiments. Language and Speech 56(4). 493–527.10.1177/0023830912460513Search in Google Scholar

Vulchanova, Mila, Camilla H. Foyn, Randi A. Nilsen & Hermundur Sigmundsson. 2014. Links between phonological memory, first language competence and second language competence in 10-year‐old children. Learning and Individual Differences 35(C). 87–95.10.1016/j.lindif.2014.07.016Search in Google Scholar

Wagner, Richard. K., Joseph K. Torgesen, Carol A. Rashotte & Nick A. Pearson. 2013. Comprehensive test of phonological processing-second edition: CTOPP-2. Austin: PRO-ED.10.1037/t52630-000Search in Google Scholar

Webb, Stuart. 2008. Receptive and productive vocabulary sizes of L2 learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 30(01). 79–95.10.1017/S0272263108080042Search in Google Scholar

Wesche, Marjorie. B. & T. Sima Paribakht. 2010. Lexical inferencing in a first and second language: Cross-linguistic dimensions. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.10.21832/9781847692245Search in Google Scholar

Williams, Kathleen T. 2007. Expressive vocabulary test second edition (EVT™ 2). Minneapolis, MN: NCS Pearson.10.1037/t15094-000Search in Google Scholar

Appendix: The items from the Textbook Test along with the naming accuracies in Polish and English as recorded in the pilot studies

Naming accuracy in Polish Naming accuracy in English
Dog 100.00 % 100.00 %
Ball 95.00 % 97.00%
Cat 100.00 % 97.00%
Egg 100.00 % 97.00%
Fish 100.00 % 94.00 %
T-shirt 100.00 % 92.00%
Swim 95.00 % 91.00%
Computer 94.00 % 86.00%
Dress 89.00 % 86.00%
Grandma 84.00 % 86.00%
Ice-cream 100.00 % 86.00%
Jump 95.00 % 83.00%
Chair 95.00 % 80.00 %
Hat 100.00 % 80.00 %
Horse 100.00 % 80.00 %
House 100.00 % 80.00 %
Salad 100.00 % 80.00 %
Kitchen 100.00 % 77.00 %
Run 100.00 % 77.00 %
Bird 89.00 % 72.00 %
Mouth 100.00 % 72.00 %
Leg 100.00 % 71.00 %
Chicken 84.00 % 69.00 %
Eye 100.00 % 69.00 %
Ear 100.00 % 66.00 %
Fly 84.00 % 63.00 %
Sun 94.00 % 61.00 %
Bathroom 94.00 % 56.00 %
Princess 89.00 % 53.00 %
Food 84.00 % 46.00 %
Animals 94.00 % 44.00 %
Spaghetti 78.00 % 42.00 %
Play football 79.00 % 40.00 %
Cake 100.00 % 39.00 %
Living room 78.00 % 35.00 %
Rain 84.00 % 34.00 %
Walk 95.00 % 31.00 %
Eat 100.00 % 23.00 %
Read 89.00 % 22.00 %
Sing 100.00 % 22.00 %
Write 89.00 % 17.00 %
Painting 84.00 % 9.00 %
Bedroom 32.00 % not used in the final test
Grandpa 63.00 % not used in the final test
Play tennis 67.00 % not used in the final test
Snow 63.00 % not used in the final test
Published Online: 2019-02-06
Published in Print: 2021-09-27

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston