Browsing by Subject "tuottava sanasto"

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  • Airaksinen, Aino (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In recent years the number of people from foreign backgrounds in Finland has increased considerably. Consequently, more and more children who are learning Finnish as their second language are met in Finnish day-care centers and schools. In order to attain adequate language proficiency before school-age, early support for sequential multilingual children’s L2 acquisition has been considered important. There have been some promising results from research concerning small-group interventions that have aimed to promote the L2 acquisition of children below school age. Nevertheless, further research is needed. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a small-group intervention on the expressive vocabulary development of children learning Finnish as their second language. Both single word naming skills and lexical diversity were examined. Lexical diversity was examined separately for the whole lexicon and for verbs. This study used the data from the PAULA research project. The sample of this study consisted of 32 sequential multilingual 4-year-old children. Half of the children (n=16) belonged to a study group and the other half (n=16) to a control group. The children’s Finnish language skills were assessed three times within a year (at pre- and post-intervention and at follow-up). Between the pre- and post-intervention assessments the study group participated in a small-group intervention (PAULA-intervention) for six months. The control group attended Finnish daycare but did not receive the intervention. The follow-up assessment was performed four months post-intervention. The ability to name single words was assessed in a picture naming task and in two short play situations with an examiner. Lexical diversity was examined by calculating the number of different words and Guiraud’s indexes in spontaneous speech data consisting of a play situation and a story-telling task. The differences between the study and control groups’ vocabulary development were analyzed by using repeated-measures variance analysis. The results showed that the children’s ability to name single words and their lexical diversity in spontaneous speech increased in both groups during the follow-up period. However, a statistically significant difference between groups appeared only for single word naming; vocabulary growth was faster in the study group between pre- and post-intervention assessments. Together with earlier studies from the PAULA research project, this study gives preliminary evidence about the efficacy of the PAULA-intervention. Although the inter-group differences have been relatively small, the results encourage continued implementation of the PAULA-intervention or other small-group interventions in day-care centers to enhance sequential multilingual children’s second language acquisition.