Providing first language (L1) translations in L2 vocabulary interventions may be beneficial for L2 vocabulary learning. However, in linguistically diverse L2 classrooms, teachers cannot provide L1 translations to all children. Social robots do offer such opportunities, as they can be programmed to speak any combination of languages. This study investigates whether providing L1 translations in a robot-assisted L2 vocabulary training facilitates children's learning. Participants were Turkish-Dutch kindergartners (n = 67) who were taught six Dutch (L2) words for which they knew the L1 (Turkish), but not the L2 Dutch form. Half of these words were taught by a Turkish-Dutch bilingual robot, alongside their Turkish translations; the other half by a monolingual Dutch robot. Children also completed Dutch and Turkish receptive vocabulary tests. Results of generalized linear regression models indicated better performance in the Dutch-only condition than in the Turkish-Dutch condition. Children with well-developed Turkish and Dutch vocabulary knowledge outperformed children with less well-developed vocabulary knowledge. The majority of children preferred working with the bilingual robot, but children's preference did not affect word learning. Thus, contrary to our prediction, we found no evidence for a facilitating effect of providing L1 translations through a robot on bilingual children's L2 word learning.
- first language translations
- robot-assisted language learning
- second language