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Alternative TitleIs There a Noun Bias for Mandarin-speaking Infants: From the Perspective of Vocabulary Size
陈永香1,3; 牛杰2; 朱莉琪1; 邓慧华
First Author陈永香
Contribution Rank1


Other Abstract

Most previous studies found that nouns were acquired predominantly by infants in many languages, thus the noun bias was considered to be universal in children’s early vocabulary acquisition. On the contrary, verbs were more difficult for children to learn, as they were less concrete and more relational than nouns. However, whether Mandarin Chinese is a verb-friendly language for children or not is still in hot debate. Evidences from natural observations and laboratory investigations were controversial. Researches that used vocabulary checklist found that Mandarin-speaking infants learnt many more verbs than their English-speaking peers did(Tardif, 1996). In the meanwhile, some experimental studies found that Chinese children met more difficulties in verb learning tasks than English and Japanese children did even in preschool years(Imai, et al., 2008). To further explore the noun / verb bias issue in Mandarin-speaking infants, it is proposed that the ratio of nouns and verbs should be carefully examined in the present study, as the ratio of nouns and verbs might vary with children’s age.In this study, the Mandarin-speaking infants’ expressive vocabulary size was examined to explore the ratio of nouns and verbs in a 6-month longitudinal study. In the first investigation, a sample of 110 infants were divided into three age groups, 18-, 24- and 30-month olds. All infants were tested using PCDI(Chinese Communicative Development Inventory- Putonghua Version) and a self-designed questionnaire for parents. The 18- and 24- month olds were re-tested after 6 months using PCDI. In the present study, the Noun Bias Effect was defined as "(noun vocabulary size- verb vocabulary size)/whole vocabulary size", the result of this calculation was labeled as k. The results indicated that the noun bias effect was small in the 18-month old group(k =.07), but it soon enlarged in the 24- and 30- month olds(k =.11~.19). At the individual level, we defined the Noun Bias Infants as infants that learned more nouns than verbs. The results showed that the noun bias infants and the verb bias infants each constituted 50% of the whole in the 18-month old group(p 〉.05). However, with the increase of age, most(81~100%) of the infants in the 24- and 30- month old groups showed noun bias. In summary, the results in the present study indicated that the noun bias effect increased with age in Mandarin-speaking infants. Verb bias infants were more likely to be found in infants who were less than 18-month old, and noun bias infants were more predominant in children of 24- month old or older. It was suggested that previous divergence in the noun / verb bias among Mandarin-speaking infants might result from the change of noun bias itself. Future studies may focus more on how and why noun bias changes with age in early word learners.

Keyword汉语婴儿 表达性词汇 名词优势 PCDI
Subject Area认知心理学
Source Publication心理科学
Indexed ByCSCD
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Document Type期刊论文
Corresponding Author邓慧华
First Author AffilicationInstitute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
陈永香,牛杰,朱莉琪,等. 从词汇量角度再探汉语婴儿是否存在“名词优势”[J]. 心理科学,2016,39(3):600-605.
APA 陈永香,牛杰,朱莉琪,&邓慧华.(2016).从词汇量角度再探汉语婴儿是否存在“名词优势”.心理科学,39(3),600-605.
MLA 陈永香,et al."从词汇量角度再探汉语婴儿是否存在“名词优势”".心理科学 39.3(2016):600-605.
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