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Pre-linguistic vocal and gestural predictors of conventional word learning

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Prior to the onset of conventional language, infants lay the foundation for this transition with the acquisition of pre-linguistic vocal and gestural skills. However, until now the literatures focusing on early phonology and gesture have tended to remain isolated from one another despite calls for a more integrated approach to the study of early word learning (Hall & Waxman, 2004). It is therefore not known if these different aspects of early communicative development make independent contributions to later word learning or if in fact they are expressions across modalities of a shared underlying construct indicative of the infant’s communicative maturity (Bates & Dick, 2002). This study, drawing on an existing longitudinal dataset of naturalistic video-recorded dyadic interaction (DePaolis & Keren-Portnoy, under revision), measured and weighted the onset of the primary pre-linguistic vocal (babble (Vihman, 1996)) and gestural predictors (pointing (Colonnesi, Stams, Koster, & Noom, 2010)) of vocabulary development in a single cohort. We controlled for environmental differences by considering maternal education. Infant pointing onset and babble onset were not correlated (r=-.130;p=.391), indicating they are not different measures of a single ‘communicative readiness’ construct. Moreover, regression analyses revealed that pointing onset was a significant predictor of receptive vocabulary whereas babble onset was a significant predictor of expressive vocabulary at 18 months. Maternal education was a significant predictor of both vocabulary outcome measures. These findings highlight how vocal and gestural abilities, while often produced in an integrated fashion early on, make independent but equal contributions to word learning.

Authors


  •   McGillion, Michelle (external author)
  •   Herbert, Jane S.
  •   Pine, Julian (external author)
  •   Vihman, Marilyn (external author)
  •   Keren-Portnoy, Tamar (external author)
  •   Matthews, Danielle (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • McGillion, M., Herbert, J., Pine, J., Vihman, M., Keren-Portnoy, T. & Matthews, D. (2013). Pre-linguistic vocal and gestural predictors of conventional word learning. BCCCD 2013 Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development Program and Abstracts (pp. 164-165).

Start Page


  • 164

End Page


  • 165

Abstract


  • Prior to the onset of conventional language, infants lay the foundation for this transition with the acquisition of pre-linguistic vocal and gestural skills. However, until now the literatures focusing on early phonology and gesture have tended to remain isolated from one another despite calls for a more integrated approach to the study of early word learning (Hall & Waxman, 2004). It is therefore not known if these different aspects of early communicative development make independent contributions to later word learning or if in fact they are expressions across modalities of a shared underlying construct indicative of the infant’s communicative maturity (Bates & Dick, 2002). This study, drawing on an existing longitudinal dataset of naturalistic video-recorded dyadic interaction (DePaolis & Keren-Portnoy, under revision), measured and weighted the onset of the primary pre-linguistic vocal (babble (Vihman, 1996)) and gestural predictors (pointing (Colonnesi, Stams, Koster, & Noom, 2010)) of vocabulary development in a single cohort. We controlled for environmental differences by considering maternal education. Infant pointing onset and babble onset were not correlated (r=-.130;p=.391), indicating they are not different measures of a single ‘communicative readiness’ construct. Moreover, regression analyses revealed that pointing onset was a significant predictor of receptive vocabulary whereas babble onset was a significant predictor of expressive vocabulary at 18 months. Maternal education was a significant predictor of both vocabulary outcome measures. These findings highlight how vocal and gestural abilities, while often produced in an integrated fashion early on, make independent but equal contributions to word learning.

Authors


  •   McGillion, Michelle (external author)
  •   Herbert, Jane S.
  •   Pine, Julian (external author)
  •   Vihman, Marilyn (external author)
  •   Keren-Portnoy, Tamar (external author)
  •   Matthews, Danielle (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • McGillion, M., Herbert, J., Pine, J., Vihman, M., Keren-Portnoy, T. & Matthews, D. (2013). Pre-linguistic vocal and gestural predictors of conventional word learning. BCCCD 2013 Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development Program and Abstracts (pp. 164-165).

Start Page


  • 164

End Page


  • 165