Keywords: Norm referenced semantic battery, knowledge of object-context associative links, categorization abilities, memory of cue-words links, word definition.
In this study we assessed several types of semantic abilities: identifying associative links between objects and situations, categorizing objects using taxonomic relationships, memorizing links between cue objects and target words, verbal explaining of objects categorization, defining words. Testing 150 children aged 3, 4 and 5 years we found that each age group differed from the others in terms of both the number of objects correctly associated to situations and the number of taxonomic relationships used to categorize objects. In each age group the associative links between cues and target words were more powerful than taxonomic links which in turn worked better than arbitrary links in facilitating the children's encoding and retrieval of target words. The verbal explicitation of taxonomic relationships and the word definition based on linguistic relations showed a notable development only in the 5-year-olds.