Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1879-7865
  • E-ISSN: 1879-7873
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This paper is a longitudinal investigation of adjective use by children aged 1;8−2;8, speaking Dutch, German, French, Hebrew, and Turkish, and by their caregivers. Each adjective token in transcripts of spontaneous speech was coded for semantic class. The development of adjective use in each semantic class was analysed by means of a multilevel logistic regression. The results show that toddlers and their parents use adjectives more often as the child grows older. However, this holds only for semantic classes denoting concrete concepts, such as physical properties, colour, and size. Adjectives denoting more abstract properties are barely used by children and parents throughout the first year of adjective acquisition. The correlations between adjective frequencies in child speech and child-directed speech are very strong at the beginning, but decrease with time as the child develops independent adjective use. The composition of early adjective lexicons is very similar in the five languages under study.


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