Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The nature of multi-word vocabulary among children with English as a first or additional language and its relationship with reading comprehension
Author: Smith, Sara Ashley
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 399X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
Vocabulary is well acknowledged as playing a critical role in language and reading development for young children, particularly for children learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) in school (Scarborough, 2001; Stahl & Nagy, 2005). However, most previous research on vocabulary has focused on measuring individual words and failed to examine knowledge of multi-word phrases, despite corpus evidence that these items are common in the English lexicon (Erman & Warren, 2000). The nature of multi-word vocabulary knowledge and its possible contribution to literacy skills among children remains underexplored, possibly due to a lack of available suitable measures. The current thesis details the development and administration of an original multi-word phrase task containing transparent, semi-transparent and non-transparent verb + object phrases to 108 British monolingual English speakers and learners with EAL in school years 3, 4 and 5. Results showed a strong effect of item transparency, even greater than frequency. Year 4 monolingual English speakers had significantly higher scores than year 3 monolingual learners on non-transparent items, while among learners with EAL year 3 and 4 performances were similar and year 5 learners’ scores were significantly higher. The second phase of the study explored the contribution of multi-word phrase knowledge to reading among 40 year 4 monolingual English speaking children and Bengali speakers with EAL. Multiple regression analysis showed that multi-word task performance accounted for a significant amount of variance in reading scores, when controlling for non-verbal intelligence, receptive and expressive single word vocabulary and language background. These findings are of import for increasing our understanding of vocabulary development among young learners and provide insight into the particular needs of learners with EAL.
Supervisor: Murphy, Victoria A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Applied linguistics ; Child language acquisition ; bilingualism ; English as an Additional Language