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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology