Between ten

and eighteen months,

nouns accounted on


for 64 percent of the productions of the French babies, and verbs accounted for 24 percent. If, like Swedish babies, they were clearly less sociable than Japanese or American babies, they seemed to be the most hedonistic. Although the number of types of words relating to food was comparable to that of the Americans and Swedes, the French babies used them markedly more often (15 percent of their productions being food related as against 4 to 6 percent for the other groups). They also had more terms to designate clothes but fewer to designate other objects in the surrounding environment. The variety of their verbs was less great than that of the Swedish children, although the frequency of verb productions was the same. The French verbs referred to agreeable activities or states (reading, drinking, eating, giving) rather than to energetic physical actions, as in the Swedish samples. Expressions such as That's nice were common among French children, as well as relational terms such as more. Surprisingly, moreover, this latter word, used by all the French children studied, was not found among the Swedish or the Americans and was used by only two of the five Japanese.

Table 7.1 (continued)

Verbs and Onomatopoetic Social Number

Adjectives Forms Expressions of Words

11 5 15 122

Table 7.2. Relative production of nouns and verbs (and other grammatical categories) in the vocabulary of French, American, Swedish, and Japanese children.


Verbs and Others

French American Swedish Japanese

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