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Age-of-Acquisition Norms for 220 Picturable Nouns

Carroll, John B.; White, Margaret N.
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Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
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Subject/Key Words:
Age Differences, Language Acquisition, Linguistics, Projective Measures, Word Frequency


To obtain data for the further evaluation of age-of acquisitions a word attribute in studies of verbal behavior, learning, and memory, estimates were secured from 62 undergraduates (35 males, 27 females) of the age at which they believed they had learned each of 220 picturable nouns (divided into two lists assigned randomly to halves of the sample), according to a 9-point scale. Reliabilities of these ratings were about .98. For comparative purposes, word frequency values for the words were secured from three large word-count studies or, where necessary, from subjective estimates made by 20 adults. Use of these and other variables as predictors of previously obtained picture-naming latencies (Carroll & White, in press) yielded results supporting the previous finding that age-of-acquisition is a more relevant predictor than word frequency. Some word frequency indices tend to reflect age-of-acquisition, but when this influence is minimized, word frequency makes little contribution to the prediction. (31pp.)

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