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Lexical mixing in the early productive vocabularies of Maltese children: implications for intervention

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Carolyn Letts, Dr Thomas Klee


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Since norms for vocabulary acquisition in Maltese children do not yet exist, documentation of productive vocabulary acquisition may contribute to establishing a baseline of lexical development. Clinical implications may thus be derived. The current study is a small‐scale investigation of the proportions of Maltese and English lexemes in the vocabularies of ten normally‐developing Maltese children aged between 12 and 30 months. The participants were primarily exposed to Maltese within their immediate environments, while receiving indirect exposure to English. Outcomes of parental report and language sampling were analysed for evidence of a bilingual dimension in these children's productive vocabularies. Translation equivalents were reported on by parents, but negligible evidence of equivalents emerged in conversational language use. In contrast, lexical borrowings were both reported and sampled. A substantial proportion of English lexemes were reported by the parents in the absence of Maltese equivalents.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gatt D, Letts CA, Klee T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics

Year: 2008

Volume: 22

Issue: 4-5

Pages: 267-274

Print publication date: 01/01/2008

ISSN (print): 0269-9206

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5076

Publisher: Informa Healthcare


DOI: 10.1080/02699200801919018


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