Developmental changes in the early child lexicon in Mandarin Chinese

Meiling Hao, Youyi Liu, Hua Shu, Ailing Xing, Ying Jiang, Ping Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In this paper we report a large-scale developmental study of early productive vocabulary acquisition by 928 Chinese-speaking children aged between 1;0 and 2;6, using the Early Vocabulary Inventory for Mandarin Chinese (Hao, Shu, Xing & Li, 2008). The results show that: (i) social words, especially words for people, are the predominant type of words in Chinese-speaking children's earliest productive vocabulary; (ii) overall, Chinese-speaking children's vocabulary contains greater proportions of nouns than other word categories, especially at the earliest vocabulary stage; and (iii) verbs tend to appear earlier for Chinese-speaking children as compared with English-speaking children at the same levels of vocabulary development. In addition, our study has identified the underlying variables that influence the age of acquisition of words, specifically, the interplay between the conceptual (imageability) and linguistic properties (word frequency, word length, and grammatical category) that jointly shape the development of Mandarin-speaking children's early vocabulary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-537
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of child language
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 16 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental changes in the early child lexicon in Mandarin Chinese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this