Verbs are harder to learn than nouns in English and in many other languages, but are relatively easy to learn in Chinese. This paper evaluates one potential explantion for these findings by examining the construct of imageability, or the ability of a word to produce a mental image. Chinese adults rated the imageabilty of Chinese words from Chinese Communicative Development Inventory (Tardif et al., in press). Imageability ratings were a reliable predictor of age of acquisition in Chiense for both nouns and verbs. Furthermore, whereas early Chinese and English nouns do NOT differe in imageability, verbs receive higher imageability ratings in Chinese than in English. Compared with input frequency, imageability independently accounts for a portion of the variance in age of acquisition (AoA) of verb leanring in Chinese and English.
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