A SAGE Journal


Vocabulary development of young Uyghur children: Exploring trajectories of receptive and expressive vocabulary

Si Chen, Peizhi Wen, Chen Chen

发布时间:2020-01-23    点击次数:

【摘要】Recent researches of Xinjiang Uyghur young children’s bilingual development provide little empirical evidence of the relationship between Uyghur children’s first language (Uyghur) and second language (Mandarin Chinese). This study was designed to explore how children’s Uyghur vocabulary impacts Chinese vocabulary development. Using a randomized sample of 379 Uyghur children aged 4–6 from Urumqi and Turpan city of Xinjiang, we tested children’s Chinese receptive vocabulary, Chinese expressive vocabulary, Uyghur receptive vocabulary, and Uyghur expressive vocabulary. Results of multilevel regression models showed that after controlling for Uyghur children’s age and kindergarten level, their Chinese receptive vocabulary and Chinese expressive vocabulary can be significantly predicted by Uyghur receptive vocabulary. When Uyghur receptive vocabulary increases by 1 standard deviation, children’s Chinese receptive vocabulary will significantly increase by 0.31 standard deviations, while Chinese expressive vocabulary will significantly increase by 0.18 standard deviations after controlling for children’s age and kindergarten level. However, young children’s Uyghur expressive vocabulary cannot predict either Chinese receptive vocabulary or Chinese expressive vocabulary. Path analysis showed that there were significant direct effects from Uyghur receptive vocabulary to Chinese receptive vocabulary and Chinese receptive vocabulary to Chinese expressive vocabulary. Also, there was a significant indirect effect from Uyghur receptive vocabulary via Chinese receptive vocabulary that impacts Chinese expressive vocabulary. We found that Chinese receptive vocabulary was a full mediator and an important pathway from Uyghur children’s first language vocabulary to second language vocabulary. Findings of this study provide empirical evidence for psychological education researchers to create new curricula to improve young Uyghur children’s second language learning.

【关键词】child language development, Uyghur-Chinese bilingual acquisition, vocabulary development

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