Why not all verbs are learned equally: The Intransitive Verb Bias in Japanese

  • Natsuko Tsujimura
Part of the Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics book series (SITP, volume 33)

This paper investigates whether children learn all verbs with equal ease. Based on a longitudinal study of a Japanese-speaking child, I will demonstrate that the child has a bias toward intransitive verbs. Moreover, intransitive verbs that enter into the child’s early vocabulary tend to be verbs that denote motion with specific path or definable goal. It is claimed that a driving force for the lexical bias is a language-specific principle that focuses on result, as opposed to process, of an action. The conclusion lends support to the view that language-specific principles can guide the child in the development of verb semantics and conceptualization of events.


Input Language Transitive Verb Motion Verb Token Count Intransitive Verb 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natsuko Tsujimura
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ViennaAustria

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