Nouns and verbs in the vocabulary acquisition of Italian children

J Child Lang. 2007 Nov;34(4):891-907. doi: 10.1017/s0305000907008240.

Abstract

The vocabulary development of 24 Italian children aged between 1;4 and 1;6 at the beginning of the study was longitudinally monitored on a monthly basis using the Italian version of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory drawn up by their mothers. This study analyzes data from children for whom two sampling stages were available; the first corresponding to a vocabulary size as close as possible to 200 words (mean 217, range 167-281), the second to a vocabulary size ranging from 400 to 650 words (mean 518, range 416-648). The children's vocabulary composition was analyzed by calculating, for each sampling stage, the percentage of common nouns, verbs and closed-class words. The increase in percentage points of the various lexical items between the first and second sampling stages was also analyzed. Data confirmed the predominance of nouns over verbs and closed-class words at both sampling stages, while verbs and closed-class words showed a higher percentage increase than nouns. The results provide evidence that children who reached the first sampling point at an earlier age had a higher percentage of nouns than children who reached the same stage at an older age. However, in the passage from the first to the second sampling point no relationship emerged between a style of acquisition based on the acquisition of nouns and an increase in the rate of vocabulary growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Language*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Verbal Learning*
  • Vocabulary*