An exploratory study of predictors of vocabulary knowledge of Vietnames preschool-age children in a city

Predictors of vocabulary knowledge in Vietnamese preschoolers


  • Giang T. H. Hoang Ghent University, Hue University
  • Kristof Baten Ghent University
  • Ludovic de Cuypere Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Thang T. Hoang Hue University
  • Miriam Taverniers Ghent University



vocabulary knowledge, multiple factors, Vietnamese children


This study explores the effects of child-external and child-internal factors on vocabulary skills of Vietnamese pre-schoolers. Thirty-nine Vietnamese children (54-77 months) were tested on vocabulary and cognition skills. Their parents completed a questionnaire on background information. Correlation and regression analyses were performed to explore the contribution of multiple factors to the variability in vocabulary skills. Results showed that the effects of multiple factors varied across modality and domain. Productive vocabulary was individually sensitive to more factors than receptive vocabulary; and phonologically-based vocabulary was more sensitive than semantically-based vocabulary. The strongest predictor of receptive vocabulary, productive vocabulary, semantically-based vocabulary and phonologically-based vocabulary was child intelligence, child pre-schooling length, household income and child age, respectively. The findings seem to support the multidimensional views of language with evidence that different domains or modalities of vocabulary skills respond to the effects of multiple factors differently; and components of verbal ability should be examined separately.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Giang T. H. Hoang, Ghent University, Hue University

Doctoral Researcher at the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University.

Lecturer at the Faculty of Literature and Linguistics, Hue University of Sciences, Hue University

Kristof Baten, Ghent University

Assistant Professor, Administrative and Technical Staff at the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University

Ludovic de Cuypere, Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Assistant Professor, Administrative and Technical Staff at the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University.

Faculty Staff and Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Linguistics Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Thang T. Hoang, Hue University

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Literature and Linguistics, University of Sciences, Hue University.

Miriam Taverniers, Ghent University

Professor and Tenured Academic Staff at the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University.


Anthony, J. L., Davis, C., Williams, J. M., & Anthony, T. I. (2014). Preschoolers’ oral language abilities: A multilevel examination of dimensionality. Learning and Individual Differences, 35, 56–61.

Archibald, L. M. D., & Gathercole, S. E. (2006a). Short‐term and working memory in specific language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 41(6), 675–693.

Archibald, L. M. D., & Gathercole, S. E. (2006b). Visuospatial immediate memory in specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(2), 265–277.

Bates, E., Dale, P. S., & Thal, D. (1995). Individual differences and their implications for theories of language development. In P. Fletcher, & B. MacWhinney (Eds.), The Handbook of Child Language (pp. 95–151). Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Bornstein, M. H., Hahn, C. S., & Putnick, D. L. (2016). Stability of core language skill across the first decade of life in children at biological and social risk. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 57(12), 1434–1443.

Bornstein, M. H., Haynes, M. O., & Painter, K. M. (1998). Sources of child vocabulary competence: A multivariate model. Journal of Child Language, 25(2), 367–393.

Boyd, W., & Dang, P. T. (2017). Early childhood education in Vietnam: History and evaluation of its policies. In H. Li, E. Park, & J. J. Chen (Eds.), Education in the Asia-Pacific Region (Vol. 35, pp. 263–283). Springer Nature.

Boyden, J. (2012). Young lives: An international study of childhood poverty: Round 2 2006 (Study # SN 6852); Round 3 2009 (Study # SN 6853). UK Data Service.

Bronfenbrenner, U., & Ceci, S. J. (1994). Nature-nurture reconceptualized in developmental perspective: A bioecological model. Psychological Review, 101(4), 568–586.

Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. In R. M. Lerner & W. Damon (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (Sixth, pp. 793–828). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Corsi, P. M. (1972). Memory and the medial temporal region of the brain. McGill University.

Đỗ, H. A., & Lưu, H. K. (1992). Khuôn hình tiếp diễn chuẩn PMS và khuôn hình tiếp diễn chuẩn Raven màu [Guide to the standard progressive matrices - PMS]. Viện Tâm lý Giáo dục.

Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, D. M. (2007). Peabody picture vocabulary test, fourth edition (PPVTTM-4) (4th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.

Ebert, S., Lockl, K., Weinert, S., Anders, Y., Kluczniok, K., & Rossbach, H.-G. (2013). Internal and external influences on vocabulary development in preschool children. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 24(2), 138–154.

Fenson, L., Bates, E., Dale, P. S., & Reznick, J. S. (1994). Variability in early communicative evelopment. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59(5). Society for Research in Child Development.

Fenson, L., Marchman, V. A., & Thal, D. (2007). MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories: User’s Guide and Technical Manual (L. Fenson (Ed.); 2nd ed.). Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.

Gagarina, N., Klop, D., Kunnari, S., Tantele, K., Välimaa, T., Balciuniene, I., Bohnacker, U., & Walters, J. (2012). MAIN: Multilingual assessment instrument for narratives. ZAS Papers in Linguistics, 56, 1–37.

Gathercole, S. E., Willis, C. S., Emslie, H., & Baddeley, A. D. (1992). Phonological memory and vocabulary development during the early school years: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 28(5), 887–898.

Henriksen, B. (1999). Three dimensions of vocabulary development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21(2), 303–317.

Hien, P. T. T. (2018). Vietnam early childhood education. In M. Fleer, & B. van Oers (Eds.), International handbook of early childhood education (pp. 663–670). Springer.

Hoff-Ginsberg, E. (1998). The relation of birth order and socioeconomic status to children’s language experience and language development. Applied Psycholinguistics, 19(04), 603.

Hoff, E. (2006). How social contexts support and shape language development. Developmental Review, 26(1), 55–88.

Hoff, E. (2008). Language development (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Hoff, E. (2013). Language development (5th ed.). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Hoff, E., & Tian, C. (2005). Socioeconomic status and cultural influences on language. Journal of Communication Disorders, 38(4), 271–278.

Hollingshead, A. B. (2011). Four factor index of social status. Yale Journal of Sociology, 8, 21–52.

Justice, L. M., Lomax, R., O’Connell, A., Pentimonti, J., Petrill, S. A., Piasta, S. B., Gray, S., Restrepo, M. A., Cain, K., Catts, H., Bridges, M., Nielsen, D., Hogan, T., Bovaird, J., & Ron Nelson, J. (2015). The dimensionality of language ability in young children. Child Development, 86(6), 1948–1965.

Karmiloff-Smith, A. (1998). Development itself is the key to understanding developmental disorders. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2(10), 389–398.

Kempler, D., Teng, E. L., Dick, M., Taussig, I. M., & Davis, D. S. (1998). The effects of age, education, and ethnicity on verbal fluency. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 40(6), 531–538.

Kessels, R. P. C., Van der Berg, E., Ruis, C., & Brands, A. M. A. (2008). The backward span of the Corsi Block-Tapping Task and its association with the WAIS-III Digit Span. Assessment, 15(4), 426–434.

Kessels, R. P. C., Van Zandvoort, M. J. E., Postma, A., Kappelle, L. J., & De Haan, E. H. F. (2000). The Corsi block-tapping task: Standardization and normative data. Applied Neuropsychology, 7(4), 252–258.

Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., Loring, D. W., & Fischer, J. S. (2004). Neuropsychological assessment. Oxford University Press.

Lohndorf, R. T., Vermeer, H. J., Cárcamo, R. A., & Mesman, J. (2017). Preschoolers’ vocabulary acquisition in Chile: The roles of socioeconomic status and quality of home environment. Journal of Child Language, 45(3), 1–22.

Lonigan, C. J., & Milburn, T. F. (2017). Identifying the dimensionality of oral language skills of children with typical development in preschool through fifth grade. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 60(8), 2185.

Marjanovič‐Umek, L., Peklaj, U. F., & Podlesek, A. (2008). Preschool and family environment as predictors of language comptenetce of 6 years old children. Contemporary Pedagogy, 5, 54–75.

Marjanovič‐Umek, L., Socan, G., Bajc, K., & Peklaj, U. F. (2008). Children’s intellectual ability, family environment, and preschool as predictors of language competence for 5-year-old children. Studia Psychologica, 50(1), 31–48.

Meara, P. (1996). The dimensions of lexical competence. In G. Brown, K. Malmkjaer, & J. Williams (Eds.), Competence and performance in language learning (pp. 35–53). Cambridge University Press.

Nation, I. S. P. (1990). Teaching and learning vocabulary: Teaching methods. Rowley.

Newbury, J., Klee, T., Stokes, S. F., & Moran, C. (2015). Exploring expressive vocabulary variability in two-year-olds: The role of working memory. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58(6), 1761–1772.

Newbury, J., Klee, T., Stokes, S. F., & Moran, C. (2016). Interrelationships between working memory, processing speed, and language development in the age range 2–4 years. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59(5), 1146–1158.

Niklas, F., & Schneider, W. (2015). With a little help: Improving kindergarten children’s vocabulary by enhancing the home literacy environment. Reading and Writing, 28(4), 491–508.

Nizonkiza, D., & Van den Berg, K. (2015). The dimensional approach to vocabulary testing: What can we learn from past and present practices? Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 43(0), 45–61.

Pan, J., Song, S., Su, M., McBride, C., Liu, H., Zhang, Y., Li, H., & Shu, H. (2016). On the relationship between phonological awareness, morphological awareness and Chinese literacy skills: Evidence from an 8-year longitudinal study. Developmental Science, 19(6), 982–991.

Paradis, J. (2011). Individual differences in child English second language acquisition: Comparing child-internal and child-external factors. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 1(3), 213–237.

Raven, J. C. (1956). Coloured progressive matrices. Lewis.

Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge University Press.

Sauzéon, H., Lestage, P., Raboutet, C., N’Kaoua, B., & Claverie, B. (2004). Verbal fluency output in children aged 7–16 as a function of the production criterion: Qualitative analysis of clustering, switching processes, and semantic network exploitation. Brain and Language, 89(1), 192–202.

Shao, Z., Janse, E., Visser, K., & Meyer, A. S. (2014). What do verbal fluency tasks measure? Predictors of verbal fluency performance in older adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 772–782.

Shore, C. M. (1994). Individual differences in language development. SAGE Publications, Inc.

Snyder, H. R., & Munakata, Y. (2010). Becoming self-directed: Abstract representations support endogenous flexibility in children. Cognition, 116(2), 155–167.

Stokes, S. F., & Klee, T. (2009). Factors that influence vocabulary development in two-year-old children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50(4), 498–505.

Stokes, S. F., Klee, T., Kornisch, M., & Furlong, L. (2017). Visuospatial and verbal short-term memory correlates of vocabulary ability in preschool children. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 60(8), 2249.

Sun, H., Steinkrauss, R., Wieling, M., & De Bot, K. (2018). Individual differences in very young Chinese children’s English vocabulary breadth and semantic depth: Internal and external factors. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 21(4), 405–425.

Tardif, T., Fletcher, P., Liang, W., & Kaciroti, N. (2009). Early vocabulary development in Mandarin (Putonghua) and Cantonese. Journal of Child Language, 36(5), 1115–1144.

Teepe, R. C., Molenaar, I., Oostdam, R., Fukkink, R., & Verhoeven, L. (2017). Children’s executive and social functioning and family context as predictors of preschool vocabulary. Learning and Individual Differences, 57, 1–8.

Tomblin, J. B., & Zhang, X. (2006). The Dimensionality of Language Ability in School-Age Children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(6), 1193–1208.

Tran, J. (2011). The acquisition of Vietnamese classifiers. University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa.

Umek, L. M., Peklaj, U. F., & Sočan, G. (2017). Early vocabulary, parental education, and the frequency of shared reading as predictors of toddler’s vocabulary and grammar at age 2;7: A Slovenian longitudinal CDI study. Journal of Child Language, 44(02), 457–479.

Van Druten-Frietman, L., Denessen, E., Gijsel, M., & Verhoeven, L. (2015). Child, home and institutional predictors of preschool vocabulary growth. Learning and Individual Differences, 43, 92–99.

Vélez-Agosto, N. M., Soto-Crespo, J. G., Vizcarrondo-Oppenheimer, M., Vega-Molina, S., & García Coll, C. (2017). Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory revision: Moving culture from the macro into the micro. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(5), 900–910.

Vermeer, A. (2001). Breadth and depth of vocabulary in relation to L1/L2 acquisition and frequency of input. Applied Psycholinguistics, 22(2), 217–234.

Zhang, Y., Jin, X., Shen, X., Zhang, J., & Hoff, E. (2008). Correlates of early language development in Chinese children. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32(2), 145–151.





How to Cite

Hoang, G. T. H., Baten, K., de Cuypere, L., Hoang, T. T., & Taverniers, M. (2021). An exploratory study of predictors of vocabulary knowledge of Vietnames preschool-age children in a city: Predictors of vocabulary knowledge in Vietnamese preschoolers. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 10.