Early lexical development in English- and Korean-speaking children: Language-general and language-specific patterns

Mikyong Kim, Karla K. McGregor, Cynthia K. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined the composition of the early productive vocabulary of eight Korean-and eight English-learning children and the morpho-syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic characteristics of their caregivers' input in order to determine parallels between caregiver input and early lexical development. Vocabulary acquisition was followed using maternal diary and checklists for the Korean-learning children (from a mean age of 1;6 to 1;9) and for the English-learning children (from a mean age of 1;4 to 1;8). Results showed that both Korean-learning and English-learning children acquired significantly more nouns than verbs at the 50-word mark. However, Korean children learned significantly more verbs than did English-learning children. The relative ease with which Korean learners, as compared to English learners, acquired verbs parallels several differences in the linguistic and socio-pragmatic characteristics of the input addressed to them. Korean-speaking caregivers presented more activity-oriented utterances, more verbs, and more salient cues to verbs than did English-speaking caregivers. These data suggest that both general and language-specific factors shape the early lexicon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-254
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

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