ERIC Number: ED423949
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Apr
Words and Gestures: Infants' Interpretations of Different Forms of Symbolic Reference.
Namy, Laura L.
Three experiments examined the relation between language acquisition and other symbolic abilities in 18- and 26-month old infants. Infants' ability to learn either words or symbolic gestures as names for object categories were compared across age groups. Findings indicated that infants at both ages learned novel words as symbols for object categories. However, infants' success at learning gestures as symbols changed over development. At 18 months, infants spontaneously learned both gestures and words as symbols; at 26 months, infants spontaneously learned words, but not gestures, as symbols. The older infants succeeded in learning novel gestures as symbols only when given additional practice with the gestural medium. This clear developmental pattern supports the prediction that an initial general ability to learn symbols (both words and gestures) develops into a more focused tendency to use words as the predominant symbolic form in hearing infants. (JPB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (62nd, Washington, DC, April 3-6, 1997).