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ERIC Number: EJ826793
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0169-0965
When Gesture-Speech Combinations Do and Do Not Index Linguistic Change
Ozcaliskan, Seyda; Goldin-Meadow, Susan
Language and Cognitive Processes, v24 n2 p190-217 Feb 2009
At the one-word stage children use gesture to "supplement" their speech ("eat" + point at cookie), and the onset of such supplementary gesture-speech combinations predicts the onset of two-word speech ("eat cookie"). Gesture thus signals a child's readiness to produce two-word constructions. The question we ask here is what happens when the child begins to flesh out these early skeletal two-word constructions with additional arguments. One possibility is that gesture continues to be a forerunner of linguistic change as children flesh out their skeletal constructions by adding arguments. Alternatively, after serving as an opening wedge into language, gesture could cease its role as a forerunner of linguistic change. Our analysis of 40 children--from 14 to 34 months--showed that children relied on gesture to produce the first instance of a variety of constructions. However, once each construction was established in their repertoire, the children did not use gesture to flesh out the construction. Gesture thus acts as a harbinger of linguistic steps only when those steps involve new constructions, not when the steps merely flesh out existing constructions. (Contains 4 tables, 6 figures and 1 footnote.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois