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First-born siblings show better second language skills than later born siblings

Keller, Karin; Trösch, Larissa; Grob, Alexander (2015). First-born siblings show better second language skills than later born siblings. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, pp. 1-10.

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We examined the extent to which three sibling structure variables number of siblings, birth order, and presence of an older sibling at school age are linked to the second language skills of bilingual children. The research questions were tested using an ethnically heterogeneous sample of 1209 bilingual children with German as a second language. Controlling for children’s age, sex, nationality, number of children’s books at home, family language and parental German language skills, hierarchical regression analyses showed an inverse relationship between the number of siblings and second language skills: the more siblings a child had, the lower was his/her second language proficiency. This relationship was mediated by attendance in early education institutions. Moreover, first-born siblings showed better second language skills than later born siblings. The current study revealed that the resource dilution model, i.e., the decrease in resources for every additional sibling, holds for second language acquisition. Moreover, the results indicate that bilingual children from families with several children benefit from access to early education institutions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

PHBern Contributor:

Trösch, Larissa Maria




Jessica Brunner

Date Deposited:

07 Nov 2022 14:21

Last Modified:

15 Nov 2022 08:35

Publisher DOI:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

birth order, sibling, second language acquisition, language proficiency, bilingualism




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