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ERIC Number: EJ1174157
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0142-7237
Talking to the Beat: Six-Year-Olds' Use of Stroke-Defined Non-Referential Gestures
Mathew, Mili; Yuen, Ivan; Demuth, Katherine
First Language, v38 n2 p111-128 Apr 2018
Children are known to use different types of referential gestures (e.g., deictic, iconic) from a very young age. In contrast, their use of non-referential gestures is not well established. This study investigated the use of "stroke-defined non-referential" 'beat' gestures in a story-retelling and an exposition task by twelve 6-year-olds, an age at which proficiency in discourse is beginning to develop. The goals of the study were to (1) establish if children this age use "stroke-defined beats," (2) determine whether the two discourse types influence the incidence of stroke-defined beats, and (3) examine the extent to which stroke-defined beats co-occur with lexical words or pitch accents. The results showed that nine of the children produced at least one beat gesture with a well-defined stroke phase, and that the frequency of the stroke-defined beat gesture use did not differ significantly between the two tasks. Stroke-defined beats occurred more often on lexical words than function words, but they did not co-occur more often with a pitch accent, suggesting its "potential" link with pitch accents for emphasis. This study therefore provides support for children's 'prosodic' use of gesture--a function which may become more common as discourse abilities develop.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: R0IHD057606