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Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases

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Academic Paper


Title: The Use of Nouns and Verbs by Japanese Children and Their Caregivers in Book-reading and Toy-playing Contexts
Author: Tamiko Ogura
Institution: Kobe University
Author: Philip S. Dale
Institution: University of New Mexico
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Syntax
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: Japanese provides a valuable contrast for crosslinguistic studies of noun and verb dominance in early child language and the effect of input on the early lexicon. In this study, 31 Japanese children between 1;0 and 2;0 and their caregivers were recorded in two contexts: joint book-reading and playing with toys. Context had the largest effect, as nouns were much more frequent in the book context. Noun dominance was constant across development in the book context, but in the toy context there was a shift away as children developed from single words through the presyntactic stage to the syntactic stage. Caregiver language was verb dominant in a number of respects across development in the toy context, and thus was not closely related to child lexical balance. We conclude that in early lexical development, all children have a conceptual disposition to learn nouns. With vocabulary growth and the emergence of grammar, the proportion of verbs increases substantially, and at this stage properties of the input language may influence development.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 33, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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