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Child Dev. 2008 Jul-Aug;79(4):979-1000. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01171.x.

Novel noun and verb learning in Chinese-, English-, and Japanese-speaking children.

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Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University at Shonan-Fujisawa, 5322 Endo, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, 252-8520, Japan.


When can children speaking Japanese, English, or Chinese map and extend novel nouns and verbs? Across 6 studies, 3- and 5-year-old children in all 3 languages map and extend novel nouns more readily than novel verbs. This finding prevails even in languages like Chinese and Japanese that are assumed to be verb-friendly languages (e.g., T. Tardif, 1996). The results also suggest that the input language uniquely shapes verb learning such that English-speaking children require grammatical support to learn verbs, whereas Chinese children require pragmatic as well as grammatical support. This research bears on how universally shared cognitive factors and language-specific linguistic factors interact in lexical development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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