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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 16, 2016

Early lexical composition of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals: Nouns before verbs or verbs before nouns

  • Fatma Hülya Özcan EMAIL logo , Feyza Altinkamiş and Steven Gillis


Nouns and verbs are considered as fundamental categories of lexical development, and there are contradicting views on the order of the acquisition. One view claims that nouns are acquired earlier than verbs and this primacy of nouns can be attributed to perceptual-conceptual constraints from a linguistic point of view, on the other hand, nouns and verbs are the lexical units which categorically highlight language-general and language-specific characteristics. These language-specific characteristics have motivated this research because of the different typological characteristics between Turkish and Dutch in terms of nouns and verbs. The aim of this study is two-fold: to investigate the Dutch and Turkish lexicon of Turkish-Dutch bilingual children with respect to noun-verb categories and to consider the role of gender. Our sample comprised 55 Turkish-Dutch bilingual children aged between 9 and 36 months. We found that age, language and gender are at play during early lexical development. Vocabulary develops after 12 months and nouns are prioritized over verbs both in comprehension and production.

Department of English Language Teaching, Anadolu University, Yunus Emre Kampusu, Eskişehir, 26470, Turkey

Appendix 1

Lexical categories and gestures in the T-CDI-I and in the N- CDI-I.

Total vocabulary434418
Items in the categories
1.Sound effects & animal sounds1710
4.Animal names3817
5.Food and drinks4143
7.Words about time76
8.Body parts2117
10.Games and routines1731
11.Question words47
12.Quantifiers and articles68
14.Small household items3627
15.Descriptive words3525
16.Action words5795
17.Outside things & places to go3521+13
19.Prepositions & localizations1410

Appendix 2

Lexical categories in the T-CDI-II and in the N-CDI-II.

Total vocabulary702711
Items in the categories
1.Sound effects & animal sounds2113
4.Animal names4741
5.Food and drinks6966
7.Words about time1513
8.Body parts3127
9.Furniture and rooms3427
10.Games and routines2640
11.Question words712
12.Quantifiers and articles1623
14.Small household items5233
15.Descriptive words6061
16.Action words106146
17.Outside things2837
18.Places to go2325
20.Prepositions & localizations2521


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Published Online: 2016-11-16
Published in Print: 2016-11-1

© Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland

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