The communicative infant from 0-18 months
This chapter reviews pragmatic development in the first two years of life. We first concentrate on the period from birth to nine months, during which time communication is essentially dyadic in nature: it is not ‘about’ some third entity but rather involves the infant and caregiver responding to each other (including turn taking, emotional attunement, imitation, and responsiveness to eye contact, speech and temporal contingency). We next examine the period after nine months of age when infants begin to enter into triadic communication. During this period, the infant and caregiver communicate about or jointly attend to things that are external to the dyad, and infant abilities extend to reading intentions, initiating and responding to joint attention, and appealing to common ground. We argue that a better understanding of this period is essential to providing a full picture of the nature of human communication.