In development, children often use gestures to communicate before they use words. The question is whether these gestures merely precede language development or are fundamentally tied to it. I examined four children making the transition from single words to two-word combinations and found that gesture had a tight relation to the children’s lexical and syntactic development. First, a great many of the lexical items that each child produced initially in gesture later moved to that child’s verbal lexicon. Second, children who were first to produce gesture-plus-word combinations conveying two elements in a proposition were also first to produce two-word combinations. Changes in gesture also predict changes in language, suggesting that early gesture may facilitate future developments in language.
Amir Yousef Farahmandi
Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.