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ERIC Number: EJ1148115
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
Who Did What to Whom? Children Track Story Referents First in Gesture
Stites, Lauren J.; Özçaliskan, Seyda
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v46 n4 p1019-1032 Aug 2017
Children achieve increasingly complex language milestones initially in gesture or in gesture+speech combinations before they do so in speech, from first words to first sentences. In this study, we ask whether gesture continues to be part of the language-learning process as children begin to develop more complex language skills, namely narratives. A key aspect of narrative development is tracking story referents, specifying who did what to whom. Adults track referents primarily in speech by introducing a story character with a noun phrase and then following the same referent with a pronoun--a strategy that presents challenges for young children. We ask whether young children can track story referents initially in communications that combine gesture and speech by using character viewpoint in gesture to introduce new story characters, before they are able to do so exclusively in speech using nouns followed by pronouns. Our analysis of 4- to 6-year-old children showed that children introduced new characters in gesture+speech combinations with character viewpoint gestures at an earlier age than conveying the same referents exclusively in speech with the use of nominal phrases followed by pronouns. Results show that children rely on viewpoint in gesture to convey who did what to whom as they take their first steps into narratives.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A