The development of multimodal negation from 1 to 4 : a case-study

Abstract : As they acquire language, children develop both their verbal and gestural systems. Many studies have focused on the emergence and the role of gestures prior to speech and during the one- and two-word utterance periods (e.g. Iverson & Thelen, 1999) but little work has examined how children gesture in spontaneous interaction once they can speak. This study explores the status and evolution of gestures of negation produced with and without words as well as the role of co-verbal gestures used in combination with negative verbal productions. We used the longitudinal data of an English monolingual girl recorded at home in interaction with her mother between 10 months and 4 years old. We categorised 1) all her negative gestures produced alone and 2) all the gestures she used with words, from their pre-linguistic to their co-verbal uses. Our analyses show that gestures and words are associated and complement each other throughout the corpus when the child needs to express negation. Results show that the role of gestures changes between 10 months and 4 years old and that their transformation could be divided into four phases. 1) Gestures seem to emerge from actions and are not quite distinctive; 2) the child uses them alone; 3) she uses them with one or two words; 4) she uses them as co-verbal gestures with longer, more complex utterances. Her multimodal negative communication develops from embodied negation to symbolic negation. Iverson (2010) has focused on the first three phases and has concluded that gestures trigger language development. Yet the third phase, in which the use of gestures becomes fully integrated into multimodal complex productions, has been left apart. Once the child can speak fluently, gestures are no longer used to fill in a lexical gap but rather to illustrate, specify and reinforce the meanings of her vocal productions. Furthermore, these results allowed for cross-linguistic and inter-cultural comparisons with our data from French children. References Iverson, J.M., & Thelen, E. (1999). Hand, mouth and brain: The dynamic emergence of speech and gesture. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6 (11-12), 19-40. Iverson, J.M. (2010). Developing language in a developing body: The relationship between motor development and language development. Journal of Child Language, 37, 229-261.
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
19th International Congress of Linguists - Session 6-B, Jul 2013, Genève, Switzerland. 2013
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Contributeur : Pauline Beaupoil-Hourdel <>
Soumis le : lundi 29 juillet 2013 - 10:52:55
Dernière modification le : mardi 22 mai 2018 - 20:40:09

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  • HAL Id : hal-00848789, version 1

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Pauline Beaupoil, Dominique Boutet, Dominique Boutet, Stéphanie Caët, Aliyah Morgenstern. The development of multimodal negation from 1 to 4 : a case-study. 19th International Congress of Linguists - Session 6-B, Jul 2013, Genève, Switzerland. 2013. 〈hal-00848789〉

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