Pasquale Rinaldi, Laura Barca, Cristina Burani

Caratteristiche semantiche, grammaticali e di frequenza delle parole del "primo vocabolario del bambino"

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This study explores imageability, frequency and grammatical properties of the first words acquired by Italian children. For each of 527 words that are known by children of 18-30 months (taken from the Italian version of the "MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory" by Caselli and Casadio, 1995), new values of imageability have been collected and values for age of acquisition, adult written and spoken frequency and child written frequency have been considered (The Database PVBlexvar is available on the web site http://www.istc.cnr.it/material/data-base/ pvblexvar.htm). Correlations among variables are reported and discussed, also dividing the words into grammatical categories. Some differences between nouns and predicates (verbs and adjectives) are discussed. The results of two studies show that early acquired words have imageable referents, they are frequently used in the texts that are read and written by elementary school children, and are frequent in the adult written and spoken language. Nouns are earlier acquired than predicates, and nouns are more imageable than verbs and adjectives. Furthermore, the composition of the child's first vocabulary in grammatical categorie reflects the composition of the adult basic dictionary.

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