Gesture-speech combinations in child language : Form, function, and how they relate to language acquisition
Sammanfattning: The present study investigates children's production of gesture-speech combinations and how they relate to language acquisition. 16 children were observed at seven age points (0;9, 1;0, 1;3, 1;6, 1;9, 2;0 and 3;0), and their gesture-speech combinations were classified into the categories complementary, supplementary and discourse combinations. The results show that the production of gesture-speech combinations over time follows different patterns in children with high, average and low productive vocabulary. Furthermore, the amount of gesture-speech combinations produced at four age points predicted productive vocabulary at the age of 2;6, and the amount produced at the age of 1;6 predicted sentence complexity at 3;0. The use of complementary gesture-speech combinations at three age points was also linked to productive vocabulary. The age of onset of supplementary gesture-speech combinations predicted sentence complexity at 3;0, while the age of onset of discourse gesture-speech combinations predicted productive vocabulary at 2;6. The results support previous research suggesting that complementary and supplementary gesture-speech combinations play an important role in child language acquisition. Additionally, the results of the present study suggest that discourse gesture-speech combinations are also connected with language development.
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