Ratings of age of acquisition of 299 words across 25 languages: is there a cross-linguistic order of words?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present a new set of subjective age-of-acquisition (AoA) ratings for 299 words (158 nouns, 141 verbs) in 25 languages from five language families (Afro-Asiatic: Semitic languages; Altaic: one Turkic language: Indo-European: Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Slavic, and Romance languages; Niger-Congo: one Bantu language; Uralic: Finnic and Ugric languages). Adult native speakers reported the age at which they had learned each word. We present a comparison of the AoA ratings across all languages by contrasting them in pairs. This comparison shows a consistency in the orders of ratings across the 25 languages. The data were then analyzed (1) to ascertain how the demographic characteristics of the participants influenced AoA estimations and (2) to assess differences caused by the exact form of the target question (when did you learn vs. when do children learn this word); (3) to compare the ratings obtained in our study to those of previous studies; and (4) to assess the validity of our study by comparison with quasi-objective AoA norms derived from the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MB-CDI). All 299 words were judged as being acquired early (mostly before the age of 6 years). AoA ratings were associated with the raters’ social or language status, but not with the raters’ age or education. Parents reported words as being learned earlier, and bilinguals reported learning them later. Estimations of the age at which children learn the words revealed significantly lower ratings of AoA. Finally, comparisons with previous AoA and MB-CDI norms support the validity of the present estimations. Our AoA ratings are available for research or other purposes.

Details

Authors
  • Magdalena Łuniewska
  • Eva Haman
  • Sharon Armon-Lotem
  • Bartłomiej Etenkowski
  • Frenette Southwood
  • Darinka Anđelković
  • Elma Blom
  • Tessel Boerma
  • Shula Chiat
  • Pascale Engel de Abreu
  • Natalia Gagarina
  • Anna Gavarró
  • Tina Hickey
  • Kristine Jensen de López
  • Theodoros Marinis
  • Maša Popović
  • Elin Thordardottir
  • Agnė Blažienė
  • Myriam Cantú Sánchez
  • Ineta Dabašinskienė
  • Pınar Ege
  • Inger-Anne Ehret
  • Nelly-Ann Fritsche
  • Daniela Gatt
  • Bibi Janssen
  • Maria Kambanaros
  • Svetlana Kapalková
  • Bjarke Kronqvist
  • Sari Kunnari
  • Chiara Levorato
  • Olga Nenonen
  • Siobhán Nic Fhlannchadha
  • Ciara O’Toole
  • Kamila Polišenská
  • Barbara Pomiechowska
  • Natalia Ringblom
  • Tanja Rinker
  • Maja Roch
  • Maja Savić
  • Daniela Slančová
  • Ianthi Maria Tsimpli
  • Özlem Ünal-Logacev
Organisations
External organisations
  • University of Warsaw
  • Bar-Ilan University
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Belgrade
  • Utrecht University
  • City, University of London
  • University of Luxembourg
  • Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Berlin
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • University College Dublin
  • Aalborg University
  • University of Reading
  • McGill University
  • Vytautas Magnus University
  • Anadolu University
  • University of Oslo
  • University of Konstanz
  • University of Malta
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Cyprus University of Technology
  • Comenius University
  • University of Oulu
  • University of Padova
  • University of Helsinki
  • University College Cork
  • University of Manchester
  • Birkbeck, University of London
  • Stockholm University
  • Prešov University
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics

Keywords

  • Words , Age of acquisition, AoA, Cross-linguistic comparison, Subjective ratings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154–1177
Number of pages24
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Volume48
Issue number3
Early online date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes