Acquisition and loss of nouns and verbs: Parallel or divergent patterns?

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This paper investigates a possible correspondence between the acquisition and breakdown of the ability to name nouns, verbs and their subcategories. The postulation of a universal developmental sequence, according to which children are predisposed to acquire nouns before verbs, has been challenged by cross-linguistic studies. In the case of acquired language loss in adults, the traditional assumption of a double dissociation between nouns and verbs has also been contested in recent work. Furthermore, subcategories of verbs (e.g. transitives versus intransitives) have been shown to be differentially acquired and affected.In our study, we elicited data on noun and verb processing in language production (picture naming task) from children acquiring German and from German aphasic adults. We will report the results from 240 German children (between 2; 6 and 8 years old) as well as the pattern of loss in 11 German aphasic adults. The results show similar category-specific effects in both populations, with a clear-cut noun advantage and a tendency to prefer intransitive verbs, thus supporting the assumption of a specific parallelism in the patterns of acquisition and loss. © 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.




De Bleser, R., & Kauschke, C. (2003). Acquisition and loss of nouns and verbs: Parallel or divergent patterns? Journal of Neurolinguistics, 16(2–3), 213–229.

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