The Early Development of a Bilingual Vocabulary
Gathercole & Thomas (2009) concluded that Welsh children easily gained proficiency in the majority language (English) whereas the acquisition of the minority language (Welsh) lagged behind due to reduced input. Does this trend also occur in other minority language contexts, e.g. for Frisian in a context where Dutch is the majority language? In this longitudinal study, 98 toddlers were tested every six months for 1.5 years with respect to their receptive and productive vocabulary in Frisian and Dutch. Our research question was: what is the influence of the home language on the acquisition of Frisian and Dutch? Results from the first round of measurements indicate that an effect of the home language is present with respect to Frisian receptive and productive vocabulary and Dutch productive vocabulary. Interestingly, no effect of the home language is found on Dutch receptive vocabulary: for Dutch receptive vocabulary, it does not seem to matter whether a child has Frisian or Dutch as their home language.
Published online: 24 March 2014