Although the extant literature provides robust evidence of the influence of language exposure and socioeconomic status (SES) on language acquisition, it is unknown how sensitive the early receptive vocabulary system is to these factors. The current study investigates effects of minimal second language exposure and SES on the comprehension vocabulary of 16-month-old children in the language in which they receive the greatest exposure. Study 1 revealed minimal second language exposure and SES exert significant and independent effects on a direct measure of vocabulary comprehension in English-dominant and English monolingual children (N = 72). In Study 2, we replicated the effect of minimal second language exposure in Spanish-dominant and Spanish monolingual children (N = 86), however no effect of SES on vocabulary was obtained. Our results emphasize the sensitivity of the language system to minimal changes in the environment in early development.
Early Childhood Education