Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In the research on the second language proficiency of non-native speakers of Dutch little attention has been paid to the semantic level of proficiency. The research reported in this article is concerned with the relation between the conceptual-cognitive development in the mother tongue and the acquisition of vocabulary in the second language.Six Turkish and six Dutch children, aged between seven and eight years, were tested with a frequently used Dutch language reception and production test, the UTANT. In one of the subtests the subjects were asked to describe four objects. The descriptions were transcribed and analysed on the use of denotational and connotational features. The analysis showed that the Turkish subjects tended to name the connotational features first and to name denotational features only when they were asked to. The Dutch subjects exhibited the opposite tendency. In addition the analysis showed that the Turkish subjects named features in a fixed order. On the basis of the results of this analysis another experiment was carried out, in which the subjects were asked to match two objects in each item which were comparable on one denotational feature. The order in which the features had to be named was manipulated. An analysis indicated that the Turkish subjects did not match the objects according to their specific denotational features and that these subjects showed the same order in naming the features while describing the objects as with the UTANT. This structural tendency seems to point to the fact that during pre-school interaction the conceptual development of Turkish children is organized in another way than that of the Dutch children. If this should be the case - which has to be confirmed by further research - this might influence the acquisition of vocabulary in the second language.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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