Language experiences and vocabulary development in dominican and mexican infants across the first 2 years

Lulu Song, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Ronit Kahana-Kalman, Irene Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We longitudinally investigated parental language context and infants' language experiences in relation to Dominican American and Mexican American infants' vocabularies. Mothers provided information on parental language context, comprising measures of parents' language background (i.e., childhood language) and current language use during interviews at infants' birth. Infants' language experiences were measured at ages 14 months and 2 years through mothers' reports of mothers' and fathers' engagement in English and Spanish literacy activities with infants and mothers' English and Spanish utterances during videotaped mother-infant interactions. Infants' vocabulary development at 14 months and 2 years was examined using standardized vocabulary checklists in English and Spanish. Both parental language context and infants' language experiences predicted infants' vocabularies in each language at both ages. Furthermore, language experiences mediated associations between parental language context and infants' vocabularies. However, the specific mediation mechanisms varied by language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1106-1123
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012



  • Language development
  • Language exposure
  • Latino infants
  • Literacy activity
  • Vocabulary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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