Tapping Toddlers' Evolving Semantic Representation via Gesture

Capone, Nina C.
June 2007
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Jun2007, Vol. 50 Issue 3, p732
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study presents evidence that gesture is a means to understanding the semantic representations of toddlers. Method: The data were part of a study of toddlers' word learning conducted by N. C. Capone and K. K. McGregor (2005). The object function probe from that study was administered after 1 exposure and after 3 exposures to objects. Here, toddlers' gestures were described and their gesture-speech combinations were analyzed as a function of instruction and time. Results: A large proportion of toddlers gestured. Gestures were iconic and deictic, but toddlers produced more iconic gestures than previously reported. Consistent with studies of older children, toddlers produced gesture-speech combinations that reflected their learning state. Conclusion: Gesture can be both a source of semantic knowledge and an expression of that knowledge. Gesture provides a window onto evolving semantic representations and, therefore, can be 1 method of assessing what a child knows at a time when oral language skills are limited and are, perhaps, an unreliable indicator of what the child knows. Embodied knowledge may underlie the use of gesture. Clinical implications are discussed.


Related Articles

  • When size really matters: How a single semantic feature is represented in the speech and gesture modalities. Beattie, Geoffrey; Shovelton, Heather // Gesture;Jan2006, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p63 

    Although some studies have demonstrated that imagistic gestures do communicate significant amounts of information none have attempted to analyze the significance of that information for the linguistic account within which it is embedded. This study focuses on the semantic dimension size and in a...

  • Comunicación Gestual en la Infancia Temprana: Una Revisión de su Desarrollo, Relación con el Lenguaje e Implicancias de su Intervención. Farkas, Chamarrita // Psykhe;nov2007, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p107 

    The aim of this article is to provide an actual and comprehensive overview of the development and functions of gestures during childhood, that could support the work of psychologists, educators, and other professionals conducting research or working with babies and toddlers. There is a growing...

  • Understanding your toddler's body language.  // Australia's Parents;Feb/Mar97, Issue 97, p43 

    Focuses on nonverbal communication in toddlers. Tips in understanding a child's body language; Clues to a toddler's feelings.

  • Growing years--1 to 2 years. Lord, Melody // Australia's Parents;Feb/Mar97, Issue 97, p45 

    Explains toddlers' behavior and use of body language. Reasons for regression to old habits.

  • Language Assessment and Development in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Luyster, Rhiannon; Kadlec, Mary; Carter, Alice; Tager-Flusberg, Helen // Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders;Sep2008, Vol. 38 Issue 8, p1426 

    One of the primary diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is the presence of a language delay or impairment. Children with ASD are now being identified at significantly younger ages, and prior research has consistently found that early language skills in this...

  • Semantics of primate gestures: intentional meanings of orangutan gestures. Cartmill, Erica A.; Byrne, Richard W. // Animal Cognition;Nov2010, Vol. 13 Issue 6, p793 

    Great ape gesture has become a research topic of intense interest, because its intentionality and flexibility suggest strong parallels to human communication. Yet the fundamental question of whether an animal species' gestures carry specific meanings has hardly been addressed. We set out a...

  • A Formal Semantic Analysis of Gesture. LASCARIDES, ALEX; STONE, MATTHEW // Journal of Semantics;Nov2009, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p393 

    The gestures that speakers use in tandem with speech include not only conventionalized actions with identifiable meanings (so-called narrow gloss gestures or emblems) but also productive iconic and deictic gestures whose form and meanings seem largely improvised in context. In this paper, we...

  • The communicative import of gestures: Evidence from a comparative analysis of human–human and human–machine interactions. Mol, Lisette; Krahmer, Emiel; Maes, Alfons; Swerts, Marc // Gesture;Jan2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p97 

    Does gesturing primarily serve speaker internal purposes, or does it mostly facilitate communication, for example by conveying semantic content, or easing social interaction? To address this question, we asked native speakers of Dutch to retell an animated cartoon to a presumed audiovisual...

  • The link (and differences) between deixis and symbols in children’s early gestural-vocal system. Pizzuto, Elena; Capobianco, Micaela // Gesture;Jan2005, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p179 

    This study aims to contribute to a clearer understanding of children’s developing gesture-speech system examining the interrelation between deictic and representational elements of gestural and vocal types. We analyze the spontaneous productions of six children, observed longitudinally...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics