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Original scientific paper

Frequency and Functions of Mothers` Verbal Responses and Gestures in Early Language Development

Antonija Maričić ; Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Hrvatski studiji, Odjel za psihologiju, Zagreb, Hrvatska
Maja Kelić ; Poliklinika za rehabilitaciju slušanja i govora SUVAG, Zagreb, Hrvatska
Maja Cepanec orcid id ; Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Edukacijsko-rehabilitacijski fakultet, Odsjek za logopediju, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Full text: croatian pdf 160 Kb

page 44-54

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Communication between adults differs from adult-child communication in a number of features. Characteristics of motherese (child-directed speech) are well described in the literature, but less is known about adaptations adults make in other communication features. In this study we analyzed video-tapes of communication in 10 mother-child pairs. Frequencies of gestures (as well as relationship between gestures and verbal responses) and frequencies of various functions of verbal utterances were observed. These features were analyzed in children aged, on average, 13 months, e.g. in children who were starting with first words expression. Results show that mothers used gestures in about 15% of responses. This data infer that parents use less gestures when communicationg with their children than with other adults. When parent used gestures, in almost 80% they used deictic gestures, while they used iconic and conventional gestures with a lower frequency. The most frequent functions of verbal utterances were: commands/warnings, decriptions, drawing attention and naming objects and people. Parent most often used gestures with verbal utterances that served as attention devices. In that way, they, intuitively, give additional support of language acquistion in children whose joint attention skills are still immature.


interaction, communication, gestures, prelinguistic period, mother-child, functions of verbal responses

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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