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  • Cited by 6
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Zammit, Maria and Atkinson, Susan 2016. The relations between ‘babysigning’, child vocabulary and maternal mind-mindedness. Early Child Development and Care, p. 1.

    Clark, Eve V. 2015. The Handbook of Language Emergence.

    Clark, Eve V. 2014. Pragmatic Development in First Language Acquisition.

    HANI, HANADY BANI GONZALEZ-BARRERO, ANA MARIA and NADIG, APARNA S. 2013. Children's referential understanding of novel words and parent labeling behaviors: similarities across children with and without autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Child Language, Vol. 40, Issue. 05, p. 971.

    Kirk, Elizabeth Howlett, Neil Pine, Karen J. and Fletcher, Ben C 2013. To Sign or Not to Sign? The Impact of Encouraging Infants to Gesture on Infant Language and Maternal Mind-Mindedness. Child Development, Vol. 84, Issue. 2, p. 574.

    Wilbourn, Makeba Parramore and Sims, Jacqueline Prince 2013. Get by With a Little Help From a Word: Multimodal Input Facilitates 26-Month-Olds' Ability to Map and Generalize Arbitrary Gestural Labels. Journal of Cognition and Development, Vol. 14, Issue. 2, p. 250.


Maternal label and gesture use affects acquisition of specific object names*

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 10 March 2010

Ten mothers were observed prospectively, interacting with their infants aged 0 ; 10 in two contexts (picture description and noun description). Maternal communicative behaviours were coded for volubility, gestural production and labelling style. Verbal labelling events were categorized into three exclusive categories: label only; label plus deictic gesture; label plus iconic gesture. We evaluated the predictive relations between maternal communicative style and children's subsequent acquisition of ten target nouns. Strong relations were observed between maternal communicative style and children's acquisition of the target nouns. Further, even controlling for maternal volubility and maternal labelling, maternal use of iconic gestures predicted the timing of acquisition of nouns in comprehension. These results support the proposition that maternal gestural input facilitates linguistic development, and suggest that such facilitation may be a function of gesture type.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Maria Zammit, Faculty of Health, Leeds Metropolitan University, Civic Quarter, Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 3HE. email:
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The research described in this paper was supported by an ESRC doctoral studentship grant (No R42200134423) to the first author.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

E. Hoff-Ginsberg (1994). Influences of mother and child on maternal talkativeness. Discourse Processes 18, 105117.

M. O'Neill , K. A. Bard , M. Linnell & M. Fluck (2005). Maternal gesture with 20-month-old infants in two contexts. Developmental Science 8(4), 352–59.

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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
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