Original Research

Lexical development of noun and predicate comprehension and production in isiZulu

Ramona Kunene Nicolas, Saaliha Ahmed
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 63, No 2 | a169 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v63i2.169 | © 2016 Ramona Kunene Nicolas, Saaliha Ahmed | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2016 | Published: 28 July 2016

About the author(s)

Ramona Kunene Nicolas, Department of Linguistics, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Saaliha Ahmed, Department of Linguistics, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


This study seeks to investigate the development of noun and predicate comprehension and production in isiZulu-speaking children between the ages of 25 and 36 months. It compares lexical comprehension and production in isiZulu, using an Italian developed and validated vocabulary assessment tool: The Picture Naming Game (PiNG) developed by Bello, Giannantoni, Pettenati, Stefanini and Caselli (2012). The PiNG tool includes four subtests, one each for subnoun comprehension (NC), noun production (NP), predicate comprehension (PC), and predicate production (PP). Children are shown these lexical items and then asked to show comprehension and produce certain lexical items. After adaptation into the South African context, the adapted version of PiNG was used to directly assess the lexical development of isiZulu with the three main objectives to (1) test the efficiency of the adaptation of a vocabulary tool to measure isiZulu comprehension and production development, (2) test previous findings done in many cross-linguistic comparisons that have found that both comprehension and production performance increase with age for a lesser-studied language, and (3) present our findings around the comprehension and production of the linguistic categories of nouns and predicates. An analysis of the results reported in this study show an age effect throughout the entire sample. Across all the age groups, the comprehension of the noun and predicate subtests was better performed than the production of noun and predicate subtests. With regard to lexical items, the responses of children showed an influence of various factors, including the late acquisition of items, possible problems with stimuli presented to them, and the possible input received by the children from their home environment.


isiZulu language acquisition; lexical production, lexical comprehension; naming task; lexical assessment tool


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Crossref Citations

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