A Study of Receptive Vocabulary Development of Spanish-Englsih Bilinguals and Factors Affecting that Trajectory

Open Access
Rhodes, Matti S
Area of Honors:
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Carol Anne Miller, Thesis Supervisor
  • Carol Anne Miller, Honors Advisor
  • Maya Misra, Faculty Reader
  • Spanish
  • English
  • bilingual
  • vocabulary
This study examined the receptive vocabulary growth of Spanish-English bilingual children from their first year of Head Start through the end of kindergarten. The participants consisted of 42 children who came from homes where the mother spoke a Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish. To test their Spanish and English receptive vocabulary, the Test de Vocabulario en Imágenes Peabody (TVIP) and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III) were administered at six time points over a 3 year span. On the TVIP the children’s raw scores increased from test time 1 (T1) to test time 6 (T6), and the standardized scores remained steady. On the PPVT-III, the children’s raw scores and standardized scores increased from T1 to T6. To examine the sample’s receptive vocabulary abilities relative to each other, a bivariate display of raw scores at T1 was developed which plotted the TVIP raw scores against the PPVT-III raw scores. A median split produced four quadrants based on their Spanish and English performance revealing the following categories: (1) high English and high Spanish (HE-HS) (2) high English and low Spanish (HE-LS) (3) low English and high Spanish (LE-HS) (4) low English and low Spanish (LE-LS). In general the children who began above the median or below the median in Spanish at T1 remained there at T6, and the children who began above or below the median in English at T1 remained there at T6. This study also inspected the effects that the certain factors have on receptive vocabulary developmental trajectories. It was concluded that language input had the most direct effect on receptive vocabulary abilities in both Spanish and English.