Age of acquisition effects in vocabulary learning.
ABSTRACT Two experiments examined whether the age of acquisition (AoA) of a concept influences the speed at which native English speakers are able to name pictures using a newly acquired second language (L2) vocabulary. In Experiment 1, participants were taught L2 words associated with pictures. In Experiment 2 a second group of participants were taught the same words associated with L1 translations. Following training both groups performed a picture naming task in which they were asked to name pictures using the newly acquired words. Significant AoA effects were observed only in Experiment 1, in that participants were faster at naming pictures representing early acquired relative to late acquired concepts. The results suggest that the AoA of a concept can exert influence over processing which is independent of the AoA of the word form. The results also indicate that different training methods may lead to qualitative differences in the nature of the links formed between words and concepts during the earliest stages of second language learning.