Development of adjective frequencies across semantic classes: A growth curve analysis of child speech and child-directed speech

Elena Tribushinina, Huub Van Den Bergh, Dorit Ravid, Ayhan Aksu-Koç, Marianne Kilani-Schoch, Katharina Korecky-Kröll, Iris Leibovitch-Cohen, Sabine Laaha, Bracha Nir, Wolfgang Dressler, Steven Gillis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper is a longitudinal investigation of adjective use by children aged 1;8-2;8, speaking Dutch, German, French, Hebrew, and Turkish, and by their caregivers. Each adjective token in transcripts of spontaneous speech was coded for semantic class. The development of adjective use in each semantic class was analysed by means of a multilevel logistic regression. The results show that toddlers and their parents use adjectives more often as the child grows older. However, this holds only for semantic classes denoting concrete concepts, such as physical properties, colour, and size. Adjectives denoting more abstract properties are barely used by children and parents throughout the first year of adjective acquisition. The correlations between adjective frequencies in child speech and child-directed speech are very strong at the beginning, but decrease with time as the child develops independent adjective use. The composition of early adjective lexicons is very similar in the five languages under study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-226
Number of pages42
JournalLIA Language, Interaction and Acquisition
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Funding

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Austrian Science FundP17276
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek275-70-029
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi96S0017

    Keywords

    • Adjective frequencies
    • Audience design
    • Cross-linguistic
    • Order of emergence
    • Semantic classes

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