Early lexical development in bilinguals and monolinguals: the appearance of first words and the size of the children’s vocabulary at age 12 months

Thematic Section: Using parental reports to examine early language development in bilingual children: CDIs and beyond

early language development, vocabulary acquisition, first words, language input, parental reports

Magdalena Łuniewska, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw
Agnieszka Kacprzak, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw
Karolina Mieszkowska, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw
Grzegorz Krajewski, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw
Anna Sara H. Romøren, Oslo Metropolitan University
Nina Gram Garmann, Oslo Metropolitan University
Pernille Hansen, University in Oslo
Hanne Gram Simonsen, University of Oslo
Ewa Haman, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw

The first talk will cover the topic of the earliest milestones in language development, i.e. the very first words and gestures in Polish monolingual and Polish-Norwegian and Polish-English bilingual children. The Polish phonological and morphological systems may influence specific preferences for particular phonological and morphological patterns in the Polish-speaking children’s first words. For instance, the first words produced by children acquiring Polish may include syllables of high frequency in Polish. However we expect that this relation between language properties and the characteristics of the very first words may be modulated by contact with other languages, such as Norwegian or English, and for instance the first words of bilingual children may reflect phonological patterns of the second languages.

In this talk we will explore the characteristics of the very first words produced by monolingual and bilingual children aged 6 to 18 months. The words as typed by caregivers will be described in terms of their semantic categories, phonological and morphological properties as well as frequency and subjective age of acquisition. We will compare the properties of the first words spoken by monolingual and bilingual children, as well as the exact timing of reaching this developmental milestone. We will also correlate the timing of producing the first words with the vocabulary size assessed with a CDI at the age of 12 months.