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Academic Paper


Title: Imageability predicts the age of acquisition of verbs in Chinese children
Author: Wei Yi Ma
Institution: University of Delaware
Author: Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://copland.udel.edu/~roberta/
Institution: University of Delaware
Author: Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
Institution: Temple University
Author: Colleen McDonough
Institution: Neumann College
Author: Twila Tardif
Institution: University of Michigan
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Verbs are harder to learn than nouns in English and in many other languages, but are relatively easy to learn in Chinese. This paper evaluates one potential explanation for these findings by examining the construct of imageability, or the ability of a word to produce a mental image. Chinese adults rated the imageability of Chinese words from the Chinese Communicative Development Inventory (Tardif et al., ). Imageability ratings were a reliable predictor of age of acquisition in Chinese for both nouns and verbs. Furthermore, whereas early Chinese and English nouns do differ in imageability, verbs receive higher imageability ratings in Chinese than in English. Compared with input frequency, imageability independently accounts for a portion of the variance in age of acquisition (AoA) of verb learning in Chinese and English.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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