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Associations among play, gesture and early spoken language acquisition

Hall, S., Rumney, L., Holler, J., & Kidd, E. (2013). Associations among play, gesture and early spoken language acquisition. First Language, 33, 294-312. doi:10.1177/0142723713487618.
The present study investigated the developmental interrelationships between play, gesture use and spoken language development in children aged 18–31 months. The children completed two tasks: (i) a structured measure of pretend (or ‘symbolic’) play and (ii) a measure of vocabulary knowledge in which children have been shown to gesture. Additionally, their productive spoken language knowledge was measured via parental report. The results indicated that symbolic play is positively associated with children’s gesture use, which in turn is positively associated with spoken language knowledge over and above the influence of age. The tripartite relationship between gesture, play and language development is discussed with reference to current developmental theory.
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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