Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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Adults rely on both speech and gesture to provide children with information pertinent to new word meanings. Parents were videotaped introducing new objects to their children (aged 1;6 and 3;0). They introduce these objects in three phases: (1) they establish joint attention on an object; (2) they introduce a label for it; (3) they situate the object conceptually. Parents used labels and gestures to maintain attention on the object; with one-year-olds, they led with gestures to capture the children’s attention. They added supplementary information about objects only after labeling them, again with speech and gesture. They used indicating gestures (point, touch, tap) to identify the objects labeled, their parts, and their properties. They used demonstrating gestures (turning a truck wheel, opening salad tongs) to depict actions and functions they were describing in words. These procedures support children in their construction of meanings for new words.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): gesture; language acquisition; speech
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