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Durham Research Online
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Young children make their gestural communication systems more language-like : segmentation and linearization of semantic elements in motion events.

Clay, Zanna and Pople, Sally and Hood, Bruce and Kita, Sotaro (2014) 'Young children make their gestural communication systems more language-like : segmentation and linearization of semantic elements in motion events.', Psychological science., 25 (8). pp. 1518-1525.

Abstract

Research on Nicaraguan Sign Language, created by deaf children, has suggested that young children use gestures to segment the semantic elements of events and linearize them in ways similar to those used in signed and spoken languages. However, it is unclear whether this is due to children’s learning processes or to a more general effect of iterative learning. We investigated whether typically developing children, without iterative learning, segment and linearize information. Gestures produced in the absence of speech to express a motion event were examined in 4-year-olds, 12-year-olds, and adults (all native English speakers). We compared the proportions of gestural expressions that segmented semantic elements into linear sequences and that encoded them simultaneously. Compared with adolescents and adults, children reshaped the holistic stimuli by segmenting and recombining their semantic features into linearized sequences. A control task on recognition memory ruled out the possibility that this was due to different event perception or memory. Young children spontaneously bring fundamental properties of language into their communication system.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614533967
Publisher statement:Clay, Zanna and Pople, Sally and Hood, Bruce and Kita, Sotaro (2014) 'Young children make their gestural communication systems more language-like : segmentation and linearization of semantic elements in motion events.', Psychological science., 25 (8). pp. 1518-1525. © 2014 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Date accepted:31 March 2014
Date deposited:20 September 2017
Date of first online publication:04 June 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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