Their entire repertoire of communicative gestures was coded from videorecordings. Comment gestures, particularly pointing in a book and showing an object, increased after 11 months, and Request gestures involving the adult as an agent increased after 13 months. The appearance of these specific gestures followed the ability to perform object permanence tasks with visible displacements and means-ends tasks involving obtaining an object by pulling a string horizontally. More primitive Reach-request and Emotive gestures declined after 11 months.
These findings are compared to those obtained from English-Canadian infants followed over the same age period. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content. Advertisement Hide. Gestural development and its relation to cognition during the transition to language. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Symbolic gesturing in normal infants. Child Development, 59 — Google Scholar. Bakeman, R. Observing interaction: An introduction to sequential analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bates, E. The emergence of symbols: Cognition and communication in infancy. New York: Academic Press. From gesture to the first word: On cognitive and social prerequisites. Rosenblum Eds. New York: Wiley. Vocal and gestural symbols at 13 months.
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 26 — The acquisition of performatives prior to speech. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 21 — The cognitive hypothesis in language development. Hunt Eds. Integrating language and gesture in infancy. Developmental Psychology, 25 — Blake, J. The gestural repertoire and its evolution over the second year. Early Development and Parenting, 1 — May, This how-to variable raises another set of questions that has not been empirically tested.
Use of flash cards suggests drill and speed as an instructional method, but that theory is contradicted by what we know of early language intervention e. Face-to-face imitative signing also can lead to mirror imitations that may inadvertently delay sign laterality in would-be right-handed babies. Signing while reading to, feeding, bathing, and diapering the baby provides appropriate contextual support for signs that flash cards and DVDs cannot offer.
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Signing should be interactive, even when a computer or television monitor is used as the source of the sign vocabulary. Signing with voice off is generally discouraged in both the popular media and in the professional literature, but it has the potential to offer a baby whose oral movements cannot reproduce the spoken word the sense that his baby signs are cognitively meaningful without sound.
Signing with both voice on and voice off may even encourage linguistic flexibility by promoting the idea that concepts are represented in multiple ways. Babies who make their spoken representations understood will ultimately drop signs in favor of the more widely accepted spoken language mode used in their everyday culture.
Cautioning parents not to refer to their use of signs as a language is also important. Without the morphology, pragmatics, and syntax, signs from ASL are simply signs, not sign language.
About Baby Signing
Likewise, cautioning parents not to accept indiscriminate movements or gross approximations as the long-term acceptable baby sign informs them that motor skills improve over time and should be held to closer approximations. Baby signing can be fun, instructive and engaging, but its promotion as an avenue to advanced language, literacy, and cognition has very little empirical support.
Widespread popular promotion is unprecedented and may come from a skewed population of parents at the high end of the language-cognitive-socioeconomic distribution. Research on baby signing and baby gesture both suggest positive outcomes from manual activity in infancy, but the science needed to detangle parental linguistic and interactive variables from signing variables is lacking.
Regardless of stance on baby signing or enhanced gesturing, professionals should offer parents who choose to sign to their infants developmentally appropriate signs, signing approaches, and cautions that align with what we know about language acquisition.
The host of well-intended parents who are teaching baby signing on YouTube, particularly those who are unable to communicate with native ASL-users and those whose efforts involve selling signing classes and products for financial gain, appear to offer much in the way of parental pride and encouragement. Their good intentions, however, do not measure up to the scrutiny of evidence still needed from carefully designed and informed research. Contact her at brenda. Brenda Seal Google Scholar More articles by this author.
Sections About Tools Add to favorites. References AccredoloL. Symbolic gesturing in language development: A case study. Human Development , 28 , 40— Google Scholar. Link Google Scholar.
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Elizabeth Bates. Publisher: Academic Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:.
Synopsis The Emergence of Symbols: Cognition and Communication in Infancy provides information pertinent to the nature and origin of symbols, the interdependence of language and thought, and the parallels between phylogeny and ontogeny. Buy New Learn more about this copy. About AbeBooks. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title.
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