Thematic Background: How are second language learners, particularly children, introduced to, evaluated and finally placed in the regular school according to language proficiency? This question led to an attempt to measure the degree to which Children of First Generation Filipino Immigrants mastered the receptive Norwegian vocabulary. The participants in this study have lived in Norway for more or less two years; thereby making them relevant to the Language Introduction Policy provided to Linguistic Minorities prior to their transfer to a regular school in Norway. This study’s main question is: “What characterizes the Norwegian vocabulary development among Filipino children of first generation immigrants within their first two years in Norway?
The Socio - cultural concept by Vygotsky is the main theory used in this study with the use of two levels of development: zone of actual development and zone of proximal development (ZPD). Interaction and Systems theory on the other hand, plays as supporting concepts in looking into the relationship of language variables to the language attainment of the sample.
Method: The sample, consisting of 19 children (ages 6-12 years) was randomly chosen from different Filipino communities and affiliations in Oslo and was assessed with the standardized British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS II) in Norwegian and in English. No one from the participants is diagnosed to have language disability. The quantitative method was used mainly in this study with a descriptive design and later on, a comparison of the results to a Norwegian norm. A questionnaire was given to the parents of the participants to gain information about the arenas where their children use Norwegian. Because of some relevant background information from the participants’ parents and due to observations noted of the children during the testing; this study has the slight element of a qualitative approach. The children were also tested with the English version of the BPVS II since there is no Filipino version of the test. The testing in English is only meant to look into the attained level of development in a language familiar to them. This was conducted six months after the Norwegian version in order to avoid the participants making any association from previous testing.
Data analysis: The data collected through BPVS II was transpired into Excel then to SPSS statistical program for presentation, interpretation and analysis. The discussion revolves around the computed means and standardized scores in relation to the aspects and areas where second language learning is triggered: cognition, motivation, age, gender, length of stay in Norway, number of sibling, bilingualism etc. The descriptive analysis of the findings is used in an attempt to answer what characterizes the participants’ receptive Norwegian vocabulary mastery.
Results: The results in this study show that the sample reached a satisfactory mastery of the Norwegian receptive vocabulary. However, the result cannot be generalized with the entire population because of the small number of participants. During the gathering of data, it was found out that there seem to be a strong audible resemblance between some of Norwegian words to English words.
The study ends with some suggestions for future studies or references. Recommendation speaks on repeating the study to other Filipino first generation immigrant with a bigger sample or to other language minorities in Norway.