ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2014, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (7): 912-921.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00912

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  1. (1中国科学院心理研究所, 北京 100101) (2山西大学教育科学学院, 太原 030006)
  • 收稿日期:2013-07-31 出版日期:2014-07-25 发布日期:2014-07-25
  • 通讯作者: 朱莉琪
  • 基金资助:


Associations of Body Parts and Early-Learned Mandarin Verbs and Their Effect on AoA of These Verbs

CHEN Yongxiang;ZHU Liqi   

  1. (1 Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (2 School of Education Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China)
  • Received:2013-07-31 Online:2014-07-25 Published:2014-07-25
  • Contact: ZHU Liqi


在英语等语言中, 动词习得被认为比名词习得更困难, 而汉语儿童在3岁以前却习得了大量动词, 仅表现出微弱的“名词优势”。Ma, Golinkoff, Hirsh-Pasek, McDonough和Tardif (2009)发现, 早期习得的汉语动词比英语动词具有更高的可表象性, 且可表象性可部分解释两种语言中动词习得年龄的变异。但是, 目前尚未有研究揭示汉语动词为何具有较高的可表象性。本研究假设, 早期动词与身体部位具有强烈的联结关系, 从而导致汉语动词具有较高的可表象性。研究1通过成人词汇联想任务, 考察了汉语儿童早期习得的169个行为动词与身体区域的联结关系。研究2请成人评定了这些动词的可表象性, 进一步考察动词-身体部位联结、可表象性和习得年龄之间的关系。研究结果验证了我们的假设。研究发现:1)汉语儿童早期习得的大部分动词都与特定身体区域有联结关系; 2)汉语儿童先习得关于手部区域(包括手和手臂)的动词, 其次是关于口部、腿部以及其他身体区域的动词; 3)动词联结的身体区域数可解释可表象性12%的变异; 4)动词-身体部位联结关系以可表象性为部分中介作用, 影响早期动词的习得年龄。研究结果表明, 汉语儿童早期习得动词与身体区域有较一致的联结关系, 且联结强度通过提高动词的可表象性而影响习得年龄。该结果对解释为何汉语儿童早期习得大量动词具有一定的启示作用。

关键词: 汉语动词, 身体部位, 习得年龄, 可表象性


Though verbs are more difficult to learn than nouns in many languages, including English and other western languages, Chinese-speaking children learn many verbs before three years old and demonstrate only a weak ‘noun bias’ (Tardif et al., 2009). Ma et al. (2009) found that the imageability of early-learned Chinese verbs was higher than that of early-learned English verbs, and that imageability could partly explain the variance of age of acquisition (AoA) when input frequency was controlled. However, why early-learned Chinese verbs are highly imageable still remains unclear. The present study hypothesizes that early-learned Chinese verbs may have strong associations with specific body parts, and these associations may increase these verbs’ imageability and, in effect, lower their AoA. In Study One, a free association task using 50 Chinese adult participants examined relationships between body parts and 169 early-learned Chinese action verbs taken from the Chinese Communicative Development Inventory (Tardif et al., 2008). The free association task was adopted from Maouene’s (2008) study, wherein “adults were asked to provide the single body part that came to mind when they thought of each verb”. In Study Two, the imageability of these verbs was rated by 30 Chinese adults, and these ratings were used to assess a possible relationship between verb-body part associations and AoA. The results confirmed our hypothesis. The main findings of the present study are as follows: 1) Most early-learned Chinese verbs have associations with a specific body region; 2) Chinese children first learned verbs that had strong associations with the hand and arm area, and then learned verbs that were associated with mouth, leg, and other regions; 3) The number of body regions that verbs were associated with could account for 12% of variances of imageablity; 4) There was a positive relationship between verb-body part association (i.e., the number of body regions that verbs were associated with) and the AoA of these verbs, with imageability demonstrating a partial mediation effect. This latter finding also supports Ma’s (2009) results connecting imageability to AoA. The results of the present study suggest that early-learned Chinese verbs have consistent associations with body regions, and the strength of such associations affects the AoA of these verbs through imageability. These results might help explain why Chinese children learn many verbs at a young age. Moreover, the acquisition pattern of Chinese verbs that were related with different body regions was different from the acquisition pattern of English verbs (see Maouene et al., 2008). This suggests that different body areas might be emphasized in early verb learning in English and Chinese, hence cultural differences should be noted in verb learning.

Key words: Chinese verbs, body region, AoA, imageability