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Abstract Turkay

Implications of Noun/Verb Asynchrony for Children’s Lexical and Cognitive Development: A Developmental Perspective from Turkish

There is a considerable amount of language acquisition research dealing with the pattern of noun and verb acquisition in different languages. The universality of noun-before-verb pattern in children’s early lexical expansion has been either supported or challenged by studies in several languages. This has sometimes led to question the verb or noun friendliness of languages. The relevant discussions have accumulated at two different directions: cognitive versus linguistic approaches. However, as the findings have been gathered and as the researchers have revised their point of views, it can be deduced that both cognitive and linguistic perspectives complete each other. Therefore, a continuum-like perspective is required in order to have an understanding of children’s early lexical development as Gentner and Boroditsky suggest (Gentner & Boroditsky, 2001).

In the light of the noun/verb asynchrony, this study explores 5 Turkish-speaking children’s early lexical growth (1;4-2;4) and presents an analysis of the data at five dif-ferent time points in line with the underlying principles of the lexical bootstrapping hy-pothesis.

A notion of lexical bootstrapping in language acquisition goes hand in hand with parallel theories with different labels such as critical mass hypothesis and continuity theories. What all have in common is that word learning is a facilitator for further grammatical development and grammatical development is strongly associated with the vocabulary growth (Marchman & Bates, 1994; Dale et al. 2000; McGregor & Sheng, 2005).

The results of this specific research in Turkish, overall, support the notion of lexical bootstrapping, showing a pattern from word growth to grammatical expansion. The results will also be discussed regarding children’s general developmental trajecto-ries in parallel research.



Dale, P. S., Dionne, G., Eley, T. C., & Plomin, R. (2000). Lexical and grammatical de-velopment: A behavioural genetic perspective. Journal of Child Language, 27/3, 619-642.

Marchman, V. A. & Bates, E. (1994). Continuity in lexical and morphological devel-opment: A test of the critical mass. Journal of Child Language, 21/2, 339-366.

Gentner, D. & Boroditsky, L. (2001). Individuation, relativity, and early word learning. In: M. Bowerman and S. Levinson (Eds.), Language Acquisition and Conceptual Development, pp. 257-283, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

McGregor, K.K., Sheng, L. (2005). The precocious two-year-old: Status of the lexicon and links to the grammar. Journal of Child Language, 563-585.