The Effect of Caretakers’ Frequency and Positional Saliency on Noun Bias in Persian Children: A Study on Child Language Development

Hassan Soleimani, Mahboubeh Rahmanian, Manoochehr Jafari Gohar

Abstract


Noun bias in children’s early vocabulary development is a long-held belief. The present study intended to examine the correlation between the input features like frequency and positional saliency in infant-directed speech and the noun bias characteristic of infants in their early child lexical development. To this purpose, the utterances of ten Persian children aged 1;4 and their caretakers at a kindergarten in Isfahan, Iran, were transcribed for twelve sessions. Persian language with its SOV order that gives much importance to verbs compared to nouns can make noun bias hypothesis of infants unstable. The results demonstrated a positive correlation between the frequency of nouns and verbs in Persian caretakers’ utterances and the lexical development of children on age of 1;4. The transcriptions also identified a significant noun bias in the utterances of Persian children. Therefore, the lexical items in adult utterances can predict the initial lexical repertoire of infants. It can be inferred that nurture and the utterances heard by children might play a significant role in child vocabulary development.   


Keywords


Frequency, positional saliency, noun bias, Persian, infant-directed speech

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