Nouns and VerbsAcquisition and processing of nouns and verbs
The role and nature of linguistic categories is a long-standing and prominent topic in linguistics and typology. Word categories like nouns and verbs have also been a topic of psycholinguistic research, since they provide a window into the cognitive bases of grammatical class distinctions. In this post-doctoral project, processing of word categories – especially of nouns and verbs – is investigated in several domains:
- word processing in unimpaired adults
- acquisition of nouns and verbs in children learning different languages
- impairments of word processing in populations with language disorders: aphasics and children with specific language impairment (SLI)
Picture-based test material for production and comprehension of nouns and verbs, including 36 object labels and 36 action terms, balanced for subcategories (i.e. the same number of biological and man-made nouns, and of transitive and intransitive verbs). All stimuli are matched for age of spontaneous acquisition, frequency, and name agreement. Method: picture naming and word-picture-matching.
Example from the comprehension test (targets: „zebra“ and „push“):
Studies within the project and cooperation:
- Initial test construction (naming) with Ria De Bleser (Potsdam University), Jackie Masterson (University of Essex), and Jules Davidoff (Goldsmiths College, University of London) within the ARC-DAAD program „the development of a picture naming test for nouns and verbs in German“.
- Adult processing:
- Naming latencies in unimpaired adults with Jenny Postler (Center for Applied Psycho- and Patholinguistics Berlin).
- o Lexical decision experiment with uninflected and inflected nouns and verbs with Prisca Stenneken (University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt/ FU Berlin)
- German data:
- Acquisition of picture naming in German: naming data from 240 children at age 2;6 – 7;11. Analyses comprise quantitative and qualitative aspects, considering naming accuracy and error patterns.
- Comprehension data from 233 children; age 2;0-6;11.
- Crosslinguistic data:
- Korean data was obtained in collaboration with Lee Hae-Wook (Pusan University of Foreign Studies) and Pae Soyeong (Hallym University) within a project supported by the Korean Research Foundation. Naming data from 240 Korean children was compared to the German data. Additionally, 10 German and 10 Korean SLI-children and age-matched control groups were tested for noun and verb comprehension and naming.
- Data from 60 Turkish children was analysed (with support from Alkim Ari, FU Berlin) [see poster as PDF-file]
- English data was collected in cooperation with Christina Schelletter (University of Hertfordshire) [see poster as PDF-file]
- In preparation: Persian version of the naming test in collaboration with Reza Nilipour (University of Welfare & Rehabilitation Sciences, Universität Tehran)
- Clinical studies:
- Noun and verb naming in German aphasic patients (see De Bleser & Kauschke 2003)
- Noun and verb naming and comprehension in German children with SLI compared to age-matched as well as MLU-matched controls (Kauschke 2007)
The results so far clearly point to a differential processing and acquisition of nouns and verbs: a noun advantage was observed across different populations, tasks, and languages. The cross-linguistic findings suggest that language-general tendencies as well as language-specific factors influence naming abilities, leading to parallels and variations in cross-linguistic comparisons. The findings contribute to the current discussion on the status of word categories in human cognition.
Institut für Germanistische Sprachwissenschaft