In this paper we report a large-scale developmental study of early productive vocabulary acquisition by 928 Chinese-speaking children aged between 1;0 and 2;6, using the Early Vocabulary Inventory for Mandarin Chinese (Hao, Shu, Xing & Li, 2008). The results show that: (i) social words, especially words for people, are the predominant type of words in Chinese-speaking children's earliest productive vocabulary; (ii) overall, Chinese-speaking children's vocabulary contains greater proportions of nouns than other word categories, especially at the earliest vocabulary stage; and (iii) verbs tend to appear earlier for Chinese-speaking children as compared with English-speaking children at the same levels of vocabulary development. In addition, our study has identified the underlying variables that influence the age of acquisition of words, specifically, the interplay between the conceptual (imageability) and linguistic properties (word frequency, word length, and grammatical category) that jointly shape the development of Mandarin-speaking children's early vocabulary.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language