Publication Date



Comparative analysis, Kindergarten children, Preschool children, Speech, Vocabulary development


Information Bulletin / Australian Council for Educational Research ; n.23

Digitised in 2022 from a print copy held by the ACER library


Between 20th November and 1st December 1950, the A.C.E.R. brought together a group of twenty-four children at the Lady Gowrie Child Centre in Melbourne for the purpose of studying their vocabulary.

Stenographers recorded as much as possible of the spontaneous speech of the children during play and other activities. Complete records were also obtained of their speech while talking the Terman-Merrill, Rorschach, Buhler and Murray tests, and while talking about a series of twenty-there pictures portraying a wide range of scenes and activities.

From those records (with the exception of the Murray test) a list of all the words used by the children has been compiled, together with the frequency with which each child uttered each different word he or she used.

A preliminary comparison of the list with that prepared by Vernon for Scottish children (soc Studios in Reading Vol. I of the Scottish Council for Research in Education) shows that the two lists agree almost completely in pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections.

We would expect to find differences particularly in the nouns and to a lesser extent in the verbs used by other groups of Australian children of similar ages to those studied but coming from different environments.

A fuller report on the study will be issued later, in which a number of technical issues and methods will be discussed. The following lists are, however, distributed now because of various requests for them. They should be of use in the preparation of pre-primers, primary school readers, and vocabulary lists, and of considerable value in oral expression work.

[Author abstract, ed]

Place of Publication

Camberwell, Australia


Australian Council for Educational Research