Age of acquisition and imageability ratings for a large set of words, including verbs and function words

Helen Bird*, Sue Franklin, David Howard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

289 Citations (Scopus)


Age of acquisition and imageability ratings were collected for 2,645 words, including 892 verbs and 213 function words. Words that were ambiguous as to grammatical category were disambiguated: Verbs were shown in their infinitival form, and nouns (where appropriate) were preceded by the indefinite article (such as to crack and a crack). Subjects were speakers of British English selected from a wide age range, so that differences in the responses across age groups could be compared. Within the subset of early acquired noun/verb homonyms, the verb forms were rated as later acquired than the nouns, and the verb homonyms of high-imageability nouns were rated as significantly less imageable than their noun counterparts. A small number of words received significantly earlier or later age of acquisition ratings when the 20-40 years and 50-80 years age groups were compared. These tend to comprise words that have come to be used more frequently in recent years (either through technological advances or social change), or those that have fallen out of common usage. Regression analyses showed that although word length, familiarity, and concreteness make independent contributions to the age of acquisition measure, frequency and imageability are the most important predictors of rated age of acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Age of acquisition and imageability ratings for a large set of words, including verbs and function words'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this