This study sought to explore the non-native English-speaking LDS adult's comprehension of the English LDS lexicon. Stahle (1981) conducted a study of the LDS lexicon which established at least 249 words as "basic" vocabulary. The current study had two foci: it first sought to determine how difficult these words were in both English and Spanish for native Spanish-speaking LDS adults living in the U.S. To assess this, a dual-language vocabulary instrument was administered to 245 subjects from Texas, California, and Utah. Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis was used to calculate difficulty levels of words and these values were plotted two-dimensionally in order to categorize the words according to how easy or difficult they were in English or Spanish (relatively).

The IRT analysis was also used to generate the ability levels of participants; these ability levels were then used as the dependent variables in a Multiple Analyses of Variance used to assess the second focus of the study, the effect of the following independent variables: time in the U.S., time in the LDS Church, language(s) used to conduct Church meetings, location, and gender. While none of the independent variables showed statistical significance, the overall univariate English model did; this fact strengthened the conclusion that the variation in the sample was too great to pinpoint significance of any one variable, but that significance might be yet shown in a follow-up study which controlled the variables more strictly. In particular, to reassess the positive directional hypothesis in this study that length of exposure to the LDS church would effect comprehension, LDS versus non-LDS subjects could be tested, controlling for age, educational level, sex, etc., as much as possible.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





Mormons, Language, English language, Study, teaching, Spanish students