chapter  3
22 Pages

How the Acquisition of Nouns May Be Different from That of Verbs

ByMichael P. Maratsos

Practiced speakers of a language (who may include 3-and 4-year olds) know something about both the semantic cores and the structural properties of major formal categories like noun and verb, or subject and object. Brown (1957) showed that preschool children know that concrete object reference is characteristic of nouns, and actional reference characteristic of verbs. Simultaneously, preschool children's patterns of overregularizations and lack of form-class errors show that they are skillful in categorizing words on structural bases even when the words do not share the semantic core properties of their category (Maratsos & Chalkley, 1980).