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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Physical action verbs describe actions involving various parts of the human body. They appear in children’s vocabulary starting in the first year of life. This chapter introduces a corpus-based study of the production of physical action verbs of ten Chinese-speaking children between twenty-one and twenty-five months of age. The goals of the study are to find out what types of physical action verbs the children acquired around this age, how they used them in various contexts, and what factors were involved in their domain-specific word learning. The results show that 131 physical action verbs were used by the children and that among the actions depicted by the verbs, twelve different human body parts were involved. It was also found that there was a correlation between the linguistic characteristics of the acquired verbs and the nonlinguistic factors that affect the children’s understanding of the effects and the intentions of human actions.

Keywords: word learning, physical action, physical action verb, domain-specific word learning, correlation, linguistic characteristic, nonlinguistic factor, human action

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