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The Use of Onomatopoeic Language in Korean Children-Caregiver Interactions

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2012, 25(1), pp.101-115
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science

배성봉 1 Hyewon Park 2

1영남대학교
2울산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Three studies were conducted to examine the use of onomatopoeic and mimetic words and its functions in Korean children. In Study 1, conversations between a Korean child and her care-givers in CHILDES were analyzed. More onomatopoeic and mimetic words were found in their utterances than other languages such as English or Chinese. Onomatopoeic and mimetic words appear to belong to the basic layer of Korean motherese. In Study 2, an experimental situation was set in which children were asked to explain pictures depicting an object or motion for a puppet and a strange adult. The results showed that only mothers used more onomatopoeic and mimetic words to their children than to the adult. Both mothers and children used more onomatopoeic and mimetic words when the pictures depicted a motion rather than an object. Study 3 showed that immigrant mothers used less onomatopoeic and mimetic words than Korean mothers which in turn resulted in lower use of them in children. These results indicate that the frequent use of onomatopoeic language is a characteristic of Korean native CDS. The role of onomatopoeia in the acquisition and development of language was also discussed.

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