We assessed the English vocabulary and verbal fluency of college students who were either bilinguals who were born abroad and spoke English or monolingual speakers of English. We examined the relationship between age of arrival to the U.S. of bilinguals and their English vocabulary. The bilinguals' performance on English vocabulary was in the average range. However, despite arriving to the U.S. at a relatively young age, and having sufficient command of English to attend a competitive university, the bilinguals had lower receptive and expressive English vocabularies than their monolingual peers. Age of arrival was moderately correlated with English vocabulary scores. The younger the bilingual students were when they arrived to the U.S., the better their English vocabulary. Both groups had similar performance on phonetic fluency. However, the bilingual group performed significantly lower in semantic fluency. This pattern of performance in verbal fluency is consistent with that found in previous studies.

Author notes

Passed away before the completion of this study.