Language Differences in Bilingual Parent Number Speech to Preschool-Aged Children

Abstract

Number-specific parental language input has been shown to influence children’s number word acquisition (Suriyakham, Levine, & Huttenlocher, 2006). That is, the more frequently children hear number words and concepts, the more readily they acquire them. In a cross-national study, Mandarin-speaking Chinese parents were found to use significantly more number language than their English-speaking counterparts when interacting with their preschool-aged children in naturalistic settings (Chang et al., under review). The current study examined parental numeric language input to preschool children in Mandarin-English bilingual speaking American parents. Results were consistent with a previous cross-national, cross-linguistic investigation, and suggest that early exposure to Mandarin Chinese, whether in a monolingual or bilingual setting, provides young children with more instances and examples of the cardinal number principle than their monolingual English-speaking peers.


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