Publication details [#63091]

Gatt, Daniela. 2017. Bilingual vocabulary production in young children receiving Maltese-dominant exposure: individual differences and the influence of demographic and language exposure factors. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 20 (2) : 163–182.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This inquiry examined individual variability in the bilingual vocabularies of 65 Maltese children aged 23–27 months (N = 33) and 30–34 months (N = 32). Most of the participants’ direct input consisted of Maltese sentences embedding English words. Bilingualism was present at the societal level. Word production was measured via parental report, employing a bilingual adaptation of the vocabulary checklist in the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories. The participants’ composite and single-language vocabulary measures were explored for central tendencies and age effects, together with individual use of Maltese and English words. The inquiry also explored how demographic and language exposure factors, documented through parental questionnaire responses, accounted for individual differences in participants’ vocabularies. Proportionally adjusted single-language scores showed 61.54% of children to employ fewer Maltese words than awaited. Maternal education level appeared a significant predictor of Total Vocabulary and Maltese word scores, but clarified very little of the variance for each. Frequency of English language exposure in main caregiver input and age group appeared as factors explaining 30.5% of the variance in English vocabulary scores. Maternal education level and frequency of English exposure may therefore act as protective factors in the vocabulary development of children receiving Maltese-dominant exposure.