ERIC Number: ED196300
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
From Gesture to Word and Gesture. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 19.
Pechmann, Thomas; Deutsch, Werner
Children aged 2, 6, and 9 years old were presented with four sets of differing objects and were asked to tell the experimenter which object out of each set they liked best. It was discovered that, as children grow older, pointing becomes rarer and linguistic descriptions become more appropriate. In two further experiments, the distance between subject and object and between the objects themselves was varied. The children pointed most often when it could be used as a referential means alone, and least often when it had no referential function at all. In a final experiment, objects were introduced for which the children had no verbal labels. Nearly all the children used pointing. The data indicate a continuum between the exclusive application and appropriateness of pointing and the exclusive application and appropriateness of verbal reference; between these two extremes pointing and verbal reference are combined in a characteristic pattern. This suggests that earlier acquired forms of nonverbal referential behavior do not disappear with the acquisition of language but remain in the behavioral repertoire and serve specialized functions. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.