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Object and action naming in Russian- and German-speaking monolingual and bilingual children*


The present study investigates the influence of word category on naming performance in two populations: bilingual and monolingual children. The question is whether and, if so, to what extent monolingual and bilingual children differ with respect to noun and verb naming and whether a noun bias exists in the lexical abilities of bilingual children. Picture naming of objects and actions by Russian–German bilingual children (aged 4–7 years) was compared to age-matched monolingual children. The results clearly demonstrate a naming deficit of bilingual children in comparison to monolingual children that increases with age. Noun learning is more fragile in bilingual contexts than is verb learning. In bilingual language acquisition, nouns do not predominate over verbs as much as is seen in monolingual German and Russian children. The results are discussed with respect to semantic-conceptual aspects and language-specific features of nouns and verbs, and the impact of input on the acquisition of these word categories.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Annegret Klassert, Universität Potsdam, Department Linguistik Haus 14, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 24–25, 14476 Potsdam,
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We would like to express our gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. The research reported on in this work has been supported (in part) by funding from the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), grants numbers 01UG0711 and 01UW0702B.

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Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
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  • EISSN: 1469-1841
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