Back to overview

Definitionskompetenzen von Erst- und Zweitklässlern. Mit einem Ausblick auf die weitere Entwicklung

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Juska-Bacher Britta, Brugger Ladina, Korthus Rahel, Zangger Christoph,
Project Die Entwicklung von Wortschatz und Lesen. Eine Untersuchung auf der Unterstufe. (EnWoLe)
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Muttersprache. Vierteljahresschrift für deutsche Sprache
Volume (Issue) 131(2)
Page(s) 117 - 137
Title of proceedings Muttersprache. Vierteljahresschrift für deutsche Sprache
DOI 10.53371/60203

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


The topic of this article are the definitional skills of first- and second-grade children and young adults. Based on a category grid derived from the international research literature, the linguistic form children in the first grade (N = 303) choose for definitions of concrete and abstract nouns as well as verbs are investigated. Comparing data from the same children in second grade, their development within one year is analyzed. Furthermore, the children's definitions at the two time points are compared with the definitions of young adults (N = 63) in order to provide an outlook on the further development of definitional skills into young adulthood in the sense of an apparent-time analysis. The results show that children already have developed a formal awareness of definitions in the first school year. Only within one year, there is a slight overall tendency towards more abstract categories. Comparing the results with those of young adults, the general development from functional via descriptive towards categorical forms becomes very clear. A comparison of different word types shows that in all age groups concrete nouns are defined most abstractly (even some first graders use categorical forms with hyperonym and specification), but this competence is not automatically transferred to other word types. Within the short period of one year, no specific development towards more abstract definitions can be detected on an individual level, but »regressions« can also be identified. The results show that the quality of a definition is not only influenced by the age of the person and her or his vocabulary skills, but also by the individual definiendum as well as its word type.