Mastery of Echoics in Chinese Establishes Bidirectional Naming in Chinese for Preschoolers with Naming in English

  • Yu CaoEmail author
  • R. Douglas Greer


The onset of the verbal behavior developmental cusp of bidirectional naming (BiN) in a second language makes it possible for monolingual English-speaking children to learn names of things in a second language incidentally. We conducted 2 experiments to identify why monolingual English-speaking children cannot demonstrate BiN in another language when they demonstrated BiN in their native language. In Experiment I, using a group design (n = 32 preschoolers), we identified Chinese speech sounds that monolingual English-speaking children with BiN in English for familiar stimuli could not echo. In Experiment II, using a multiple-probe design, we investigated if mastery of echoics with the speech sounds identified in Experiment I would result in BiN in Chinese with 6 participants from Experiment I. The dependent variable was untaught responses to the probe stimuli presented following the naming experience based on the echoic stimuli from Experiment I. The results showed that echoic training was functionally related to the establishment of BiN in the second language. It appeared that the emission of accurate echoics might be the key to second-language BiN and that emergent correspondence between producing and hearing that occurs with the mastery of the echoic responding may be the source of reinforcement.


Naming Bilingual naming Verbal behavior developmental cusp Fast mapping Echoic training for naming Familiar and nonfamiliar stimuli and naming 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were reviewed by the Institutional Review Board of Columbia University Teachers College and the Fred S. Keller School and were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Gotham ChildrenNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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