• Stern, gwiazda or star: Screening receptive vocabulary skills across languages in monolingual and bilingual German–Polish or German–Turkish children using a tablet application

      Schaefer, Blanca; Ehlert, Hanna; Kemp, Lisa; Hoesl, Kristina; Schrader, Verena; Warnecke, Clarissa; Herrmann, Frank (SAGE Publications, 2018-11-09)
      There is a need to provide bilingual assessments and reference data to identify those who struggle to acquire their heritage language (L1) or the language spoken in the country of residence (L2). However, bilingual assessments and data are still sparse. Therefore, the aim was to use a tablet application to screen receptive vocabulary in different languages and discuss this data in the context of lexical acquisition theories. Forty-four monolingual German, 15 bilingual German–Polish and 21 German–Turkish-speaking children aged between 3;5 (3 years and 5 months) and 6;1 were assessed. All children completed the German version of the Receptive Vocabulary Screener (RVS), a tablet application testing 20 nouns and 20 verbs, and two standardized vocabulary sub-tests. Additionally, the bilingual children completed the Turkish or Polish version of the RVS. Internal consistency showed that the RVS is a reliable tool for research purposes and validity was confirmed by significant and moderate to strong correlations with the two standardized vocabulary sub-tests. Monolingual children outperformed bilingual children when performance comparisons were solely based on the German items. However, group differences were not significant when total vocabulary was used, i.e. the number of words bilingual children named across both versions. For bilingual children, L1 and L2 scores did not differ, i.e. they showed a similar performance on the L1/L2 subtest. Paternal education, but not maternal education, was significantly correlated to vocabulary scores. Children with more translation equivalents, i.e. words they know in both languages, and with a higher level of language proficiency showed higher scores on the screener. The app provided a valuable opportunity to assess lexical knowledge across different languages. Results indicated that total vocabulary and translation equivalents must be considered to evaluate bilingual children’s lexical knowledge.