Developmental changes in the early child lexicon in Mandarin Chinese

M. Hao, Y. Liu, H. Shu, A. Xing, Y. Jiang, Ping Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Cambridge University Press.In this paper we report a large-scale developmental study of early productive vocabulary acquisition by 928 Chinese-speaking children aged between 1;0 and 2;6, using the Early Vocabulary Inventory for Mandarin Chinese (Hao, Shu, Xing & Li, 2008). The results show that: (i) social words, especially words for people, are the predominant type of words in Chinese-speaking children's earliest productive vocabulary; (ii) overall, Chinese-speaking children's vocabulary contains greater proportions of nouns than other word categories, especially at the earliest vocabulary stage; and (iii) verbs tend to appear earlier for Chinese-speaking children as compared with English-speaking children at the same levels of vocabulary development. In addition, our study has identified the underlying variables that influence the age of acquisition of words, specifically, the interplay between the conceptual (imageability) and linguistic properties (word frequency, word length, and grammatical category) that jointly shape the development of Mandarin-speaking children's early vocabulary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-537
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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