Psychometric Properties of the English–Spanish Vocabulary Inventory in Toddlers With and Without Early Language Delay

Stephanie De Anda, Lauren M. Cycyk, Heather Moore, Lidia Huerta, Anne L. Larson, Marika King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Despite the increasing population of dual language learners (DLLs) in the United States, vocabulary measures for young DLLs have largely relied on instruments developed for monolinguals. The multistudy project reports on the psychometric properties of the English–Spanish Vocabulary Inventory (ESVI), which was designed to capture unique cross-language measures of lexical knowledge that are critical for assessing DLLs’ vocabulary, including translation equivalents (whether the child knows the words for the same concept in each language), total vocabulary (the number of words known across both languages), and conceptual vocabulary (the number of words known that represent unique concepts in either language). Method: Three studies included 87 Spanish–English DLLs (Mage = 26.58 months, SD = 2.86 months) with and without language delay from two geographic regions. Multiple measures (e.g., caregiver report, observation, behavioral tasks, and standardized assessments) determined content validity, construct validity, social validity, and criterion validity of the ESVI. Results: Monolingual instruments used in bilingual contexts significantly undercounted lexical knowledge as measured on the ESVI. Scores on the ESVI were related to performance on other measures of communication, indicating acceptable content, construct, and criterion validity. Social validity ratings were similarly positive. ESVI scores were also associated with suspected language delay. Conclusions: These studies provide initial evidence of the adequacy of the ESVI for use in research and clinical contexts with young children learning English and Spanish (with or without a language delay). Developing tools such as the ESVI promotes culturally and linguistically responsive practices that support accurate assessment of DLLs’ lexical development. Supplemental Material:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-691
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant K23DC018033 awarded to Stephanie De Anda, a grant from the ASHFoundation awarded to Lauren M. Cycyk, and funding from Utah State University’s Office of Research awarded to Anne L. Larson. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors are grateful to the families who participated and the students at the University of Oregon’s Early Dual Language Development Lab and the Communication Across Languages and Modalities Lab at Utah State University who facilitated data collection and processing. They also gratefully acknowledge the permission of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDI) Advisory Board to use the vocabulary lists for the CDI and the Inventario de Desarrollo de Habilidades Comunicativas as the foundation of the English–Spanish Vocabulary Inventory.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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