The following is a list of journal articles and book chapters related to Vietnamese language development and disorders and English language learners. For more information, please contact Giang Pham at


Journal Articles

Pham, G. & Kohnert, K. (2010). Sentence interpretation by typically developing Vietnamese-English bilingual children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 31, 507-529.


We examined developing bilinguals’ use of animacy and word order cues during sentence interpretation tasks administered in each of their languages. Participants were 6- to 8-year-old children who learned Vietnamese as a first language and English as a second language (n = 23). Participants listened to simple sentences and identified the agent or “doer” of the action. English-only peers (n = 23) served as a comparison group. Results indicated that the bilingual group relied more on animacy than the English-only group when interpreting sentences in English and that the bilingual group used a blending or “amalgamation” of cues to interpret English and Vietnamese sentences. Significant within-group variation in cue preference was investigated as a function of age and proficiency in the first language and second language.


Pham, G., & Kohnert, K. (2009). A corpus-based analysis of Vietnamese ‘classifiers’ con and cái. Mon Khmer Studies, 38, 1-11.


The purpose of this study is to examine the use of two common Vietnamese ‘classifiers,’ con (animacy) and cái (inanimacy) using language corpora data of over one million words. This information may contribute to an ongoing debate of whether Vietnamese ‘classifiers’ are a distinct word class or a subclass of nouns. Frequency and distributions were calculated using

computer software. Lexical semantic functions were manually analyzed for each occurrence. Findings indicated that con and cái were highly frequent and distributed across text genres. However, neither form consistently demonstrated a classifying function: con indicated animacy less than 24% of the time, and cái indicated inanimacy less than 65% of the time. Corpus-based

analysis is a useful tool to make comparisons between prototypical and ‘reallife’ language use. If Vietnamese ‘classifiers’ are not consistently used as such, considering this group of words a subclass of nouns rather than a distinct word class may be more parsimonious.



Pham, G., Kohnert, K., & Carney, E. (2008). Corpora of Vietnamese Texts: Lexical Effects of Intended Audience and Publication Place. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 154-163.


This article has two primary aims. The first is to introduce a new Vietnamese text-based corpus. The Corpora of Vietnamese Texts (CVT; Tang, 2006a) consists of approximately 1 million words drawn from newspapers and children’s literature, and is available online at The second aim is to investigate potential differences in lexical frequency and distributional characteristics in the CVT on the basis of place of publication (Vietnam or Western countries) and intended audience: adult-directed texts (newspapers) or child-directed texts (children’s literature). We found clear differences between adult- and child-directed texts, particularly in the distributional frequencies of pronouns or kinship terms, which were more frequent in children’s literature. Within child- and adult-directed texts, lexical characteristics did not differ on the basis of place of publication. Implications of these findings for future research are discussed.



Wing, C., Kohnert, K., Pham, G., Cordero, K., Ebert, K., Kan, P.F., & Blaiser, K. (2007). Culturally consistent treatment for late-talkers. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 29, 20-27.


The authors discuss cultural influences on clinical interactions when treating late talkers, 2- to 3-year-old children with primary language delays. They use the literature to examine the cultural relevance of core components of early language treatment and propose alternative professional actions in the cases of cultural mismatches. Alternative actions include triadic or multiparty treatments, the inclusion of siblings or others, more structured tasks or group settings for language training, and shaping culturally congruent directive language techniques. Also discussed is the need for an emphasis on social language use and professional clarity regarding links between early child language ability and later achievements in order to motivate treatment.


Tang, G. (2006). Cross-linguistic analysis of Vietnamese and English with implications for Vietnamese language acquisition and maintenance in the United States. Journal of Southeast Asian-American Education & Advancement, 2, 1-33.


Two overall goals of this paper are a) to provide a linguistic basis for promoting first language maintenance of Vietnamese in a larger United States context and b) to stimulate future research in language acquisition of Vietnamese-English speakers. This paper is divided into three sections. Section 1 discusses previous studies on first language (L1) maintenance among Vietnamese Americans. Section 2 presents a cross-linguistic comparison of Vietnamese and English across speech-sound, word, and grammatical language levels. A cross-linguistic analysis may help educators better understand speaking patterns of Vietnamese American students. Based on this cross-linguistic comparison, Section 3 presents potential bi-directional interactions between Vietnamese and English within an individual speaker. These predictions are intended to provide a framework for future empirical studies related to bilingual development.



Tang, G. & Barlow, J. (2006). Characteristics of sound systems of monolingual Vietnamese-speaking children with phonological impairment. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 20, 6, 423-445.


There has been little or no research on Vietnamese phonological development, let alone on

phonological disorders of Vietnamese-speaking children. The goal of this study is to evaluate the

sound systems of monolingual Vietnamese-speaking children with phonological impairment.

Independent and relational analyses of four children (ages 4;4 to 5;5) are presented in terms of

error patterns, dialectal patterns, phonotactic constraints, and phonetic and phonemic inventories.

The characteristics of these children’s sound systems are compared to studies of phonological

acquisition of other languages, in order to identify characteristics that may be universal versus those that may be language-specific in nature.

Book Chapters


Kohnert, K. & Pham, G. (2010). The process of acquiring a first and second language. In M. Shatz and L. Wilkinson (Eds.), Preparing to educate English Language Learners. New York: Guilford Press.