Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A widely researched question in bilingualism asks whether bilinguals' vocabulary growth is equal to or lower than that of monolinguals. Some studies have found smaller vocabularies in bilingual toddlers than monolingual toddlers when comparing in one language, but others have found no significant group differences. We compared 12 to 32-month-old bilingual toddlers growing up in the UK with English and one additional language (AL) to age-matched UK English monolinguals. We evaluated both vocabulary size in English and conceptual vocabulary. Bilinguals' English vocabulary sizes in both comprehension and production were significantly smaller than monolinguals' after controlling for age and socioeconomic status. This was seen across bilinguals of different levels of language dominance. The bilingual lag in vocabulary size was smaller when calculated using conceptual vocabulary but still significant for both comprehension and production. We discuss the implications for measurements of bilingual toddlers' vocabulary size.


Conference paper

Publication Date



3676 - 3682