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Exploring the Genetic and Environmental Etiologies of Phonological Awareness, Morphological Awareness, and Vocabulary Among Chinese–English Bilingual Children: The Moderating Role of Second Language Instruction

Xie, Q; Zheng, M; Ho, CSH; McBride, C; Fong, FLW; Wong, SWL; Chow, BWY; (2022) Exploring the Genetic and Environmental Etiologies of Phonological Awareness, Morphological Awareness, and Vocabulary Among Chinese–English Bilingual Children: The Moderating Role of Second Language Instruction. Behavior Genetics , 52 pp. 108-122. 10.1007/s10519-021-10096-2. Green open access

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Abstract

This study investigated the associations among bilingual phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and vocabulary by focusing on their genetic and environmental etiologies. It also explored the influence of family socio-economic status (SES) and language exposure amount on the genetic and environmental effects. A twin study was conducted with 349 pairs of Chinese–English bilingual twins (mean age = 7.37 years). Cross-language transfer was found in phonological and morphological awareness but not in vocabulary knowledge. A common genetic overlap was found among these bilingual abilities. We also found a common shared environmental effect that may account for the cross-language transfer in phonological awareness and the associations among English abilities. SES and language exposure were significant environmental influences on bilingual phonological awareness and English vocabulary. More teaching in Chinese was related to a stronger genetic effect on Chinese morphological awareness, whereas more teaching in English was related to a stronger environmental impact on English abilities.

Type: Article
Title: Exploring the Genetic and Environmental Etiologies of Phonological Awareness, Morphological Awareness, and Vocabulary Among Chinese–English Bilingual Children: The Moderating Role of Second Language Instruction
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10519-021-10096-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-021-10096-2
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Phonological awareness, Morphological awareness, Vocabulary, First language, Second language, Twin study design
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10144496
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