Lexical development in Mandarin-English bilingual children

Li Sheng, Ying Lu, Pui Fong Kan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Two groups of Mandarin-English bilingual children (3-5-year-olds, 6-8-year-olds) participated in a picture identification task and a picture naming task in both languages. Results revealed age-related growth in English, but not Mandarin vocabulary. Composite vocabulary was larger than either single-language vocabulary in the younger children but was similar to English vocabulary in the older children. Furthermore, children showed a larger receptive-expressive modality difference in their weaker language (Mandarin) than in their stronger language (English). These patterns indicate rapid growth in English vocabulary along with early stabilization of Mandarin vocabulary despite considerable Mandarin input in the home setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-587
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • English
  • Mandarin
  • modality
  • vocabulary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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