ERIC Number: ED222047
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
The Acquisition of Agent and Instrument Noun Forms in Hebrew.
Berman, Ruth A.; And Others
The development of devices used to coin agent and instrument nouns in Hebrew was investigated among 60 children aged 3, 4, 5, 7, and 11. The prevalent word-formation device in Hebrew is the triconsonantal root combined with vowel patterns. Other available devices include suffixation, conversion, and compounding. Questions designed to elicit innovative nouns were posed to the subjects. It was found that different word-formation devices were preferred at different ages, with suffixation preferred by most subjects beyond the age of 4. The results are compared with those of a similar study of English-speaking children in order to distinguish language-specific from universal response patterns. For example, the low incidence of compounding by Hebrew-speaking children is attributable to its lack of utility in Hebrew. The more varied set of devices available to Hebrew speakers for coining nouns makes the task of acquisition more complex and prolonged than for English speakers. Children in both studies were able to coin agent nouns before instruments, relied on fewer devices for coining agent nouns, and used suffixation as the preferred device. (RW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.
Note: In its: Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 21, p16-24.