Pointing is tot's first communicative gesture
Researchers have said that pointing is infants' first communicative gesture.
A new study carried out by two researchers from the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona analyses the temporary coordination between gestures and speech in babies during the very early stages of language development, from the babbling period until the production of their first words.
Nuria Esteve Gibert, one of the authors, explained to SINC, said that there are now more and more investigations that show that the study of language and human communication can not be carried out only with an analysis of speech.
According to the authors, this study demonstrates the vision that speech and body language are two elements required for studying human communication, as there are more and more indications that both modes are developed at the same time and that they are closely coordinated, both semantically and temporarily.
In order to do so, the researchers filmed four babies, born into Catalan-speaking families, while they played with their parents at home, from when the children were aged 11 to when they reached 19 months old.
During the babbling stage babies still produce many gestures without combining them with vocalisations. However, from the beginning of the period in which they start to produce their first words (four words during half an hour of recording), babies produce the majority of hand gestures in combination with vocalisations, the same as adults.
The results have been published in the journal Speech Communication.
(Posted on 25-02-2014)