Madorah Elizabeth Smith


Madorah Smith's was researcher in the field of child development and bilingualism. She received her doctorate from Iowa Child Welfare Station at the University of Iowa in 1925. Her dissertation, published in 1926, reported on a method of analyzing free speech utterances. She took a position at the University of Hawaii and continued to research the speech and language of children (Smith 1939). She studied preschool children in Hawai'i from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, comparing them with the norms she had collected in her dissertation study. She concluded the simultaneous use of two languages contributed to a lag in speech development. Her studies, cited widely, were later found to be methodologically flawed. She paired poor immigrant children with middle-class native-born Americans. Nor did she distinguish between fluent bilinguals and limited bilinguals whose command of one language or the other was poor.

Madorah Smith was born in Shanghai, China in 1884. Her parents were missionaries. Madorah was granted a scholarship in 1902 at Fargo College, a Congregational school located in Fargo, North Dakota. Beginning in 1907, she taught in rural schools in Iowa and Minnesota. She then went to China under the auspices of the Methodist Missionary Board. She taught there from 1913 to 1917.

She received her MA from Iowa State University and graduated from there in 1918. She taught in Colorado for the next three years, then returned to Iowa State for her Ph.D. work, graduating in 1925.

After teaching in Iowa City for two years following her Ph.D. work, she accepted a position at the Normal School in Honolulu and continued with that position when the school became a University. She remained there, teaching Psychology and Education courses and conducting research in bilingualism, retiring in1943.

Writings of Madorah Smith, arranged chronologically

Baldwin, Bird T. & Smith Madorah. (1923) Educational research. Washington: Government Printing Office.

Smith, M. (1923). Little devils. (a child's book). Iowa City: Iowa University Press.

Smith, M. (1926). An investigation of the development of the sentence and the extent of vocabulary in young children. (3, #5). Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Studies in Child Welfare. (Reprinted in 1969 by NY: Kraus).

Smith, M. (1931). A study of five bilingual children from the same family. Child Development, 2, 184-187.

Smith, M. (1932). The preschool child's use of criticism. Child Development, 3, 137-145.

Smith, M. (1933). A study of language development in bilingual children in Hawaii. Psychology Bulletin, 30, 692-693.

Smith, M. (1933). The influence of age, sex, and situation on the frequency, form, and function of questions asked by preschool children. Child Development, 4, 201-203.

Smith, M. (1933). Grammatical errors in the speech of preschool children. Child Development, 4, 182-190.

Smith, M. (1935). A study of some factors influencing the development of the sentence in preschool children. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 46, 182-212.

Smith, M. (1935). A study of the speech of eight bilingual children of the same family. Child Development, 6, 19-25.

Coale, Willis B. Smith, M. & Masouka, Jitsuichi (1938). Successful practices in the teaching of English to bilingual children in Hawaii. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Smith, M. (1938). A comparison of the neurotic tendencies of students of different racial ancestry in Hawaii. Worcester: Mass.

Smith, M. (1938). A study of the causes of feelings of inferiority. Provincetown, MA.

Smith, Madorah (1939). Some light on the problem of bilingualism as found from a study of the progress in mastery of English among preschool children on non-American ancestry in Hawaii. Genetic Psychology Monograph, 21, 121-284.

Smith, M. (1940). A comparison of the English vocabulary used by children of non-American ancestry in Hawaii before they reach the age of seven years with that of kindergarten children in Continental United States. Journal of Experimental Education, 9, 121-132.

Smith, M. (1941). Measurements of the size of general English vocabulary through the elementary grades and high school. Monographs of the Journal of Genetic Psychology, 24, 311-345.

Coale, Willis B. & Smith, M. (1941). Hawaii English usage test for the use at the secondary level. Honolulu.

Smith, M. (1942). The English of Hawaiian children.

Kashiwa, Yoshiko Irene & Smith, M. (1943). A study of the attitudes of some children of Japanese descent toward the Chinese and Japanese. Washington

Smith, M. (1952). Progress in the use of English after 22 years by children of Chinese ancestry in Honolulu.

Smith, M. (nonpublished manuscript, written in 1957) Word variety as a measure of bilingualism in preschool children.

Smith, M. & Hall, Calvin S. (non published manuscript, written in 1964). An investigation of regression in a long dream series.

Smith, M. (nd). The English vocabulary used by non-haole children in Hawaii before they reach the age of seven years. Teachers College, University of Hawaii.