Using A Real-time Word-Naming Technique to Trace Bilingual Children’s Vocabulary Development

Hyunwoo Kim, Kitaek Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study tested the validity of a computer-based picture-naming tool, the HALA task, to measure the effect of bilingual children’s language exposure in their word retrieval skills. We used this task to address an unresolved issue of whether a relative amount of language input is more strongly associated with a relative versus an absolute language outcome. We measured a proportion of L2 Korean input that bilinguals speaking Russian or Chinese as an L1 received from four types of input sources using a language background questionnaire. We also assessed their word retrieving accuracy and speed using the HALA task. Results from correlation analyses show that the proportion of L2 over L1 input was more strongly correlated with the production skills measured in relative than absolute terms. Also, the effect of language input manifested more prominently in word retrieval speed than in word naming accuracy. Our findings suggest that the picture-naming task successfully captured the effect of relative amount of language input in bilingual word production when language outcomes were measured in relative rather than absolute terms. We propose the task as a tool for tracing the development of bilingual children’s word production skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-566
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Cognitive Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018S1A5A8028933). Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kitaek Kim (, the corresponding author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Institute for Cognitive Science, Seoul National University

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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