The role of gesture and prosody in children’s multimodal pathway into negation. Dodane, C.; Beaupoil, P.; Ré, A. D.; Boutet, D.; and Morgenstern, A. In Sound to Gesture conference (S2G), Padoue, Italy, 2014. 00000
The role of gesture and prosody in children’s multimodal pathway into negation [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
Through constant exposure to adult input in dialogue, children’s language gradually develops into rich linguistic constructions that contain multiple cross-modal elements subtly combined for coherent communicative functions. Prosody and gesture in particular both facilitate children’s entry into language. Children not only demonstrate sensitivity to the intonation and rhythm of their native tongue from birth (Mehler et al., 1978; Jusczyck, 1998), but they also use the prosodic level to structure their first productions, especially after 9-10 months. Similarly, gestures play a crucial role in children’s entry into symbolic communication. Balog and Brentari (2008) have shown that since the single-word period, children coordinate their verbal and nonverbal behavior, which makes their meaning more comprehensible, just like adults do (Bolinger, 1983; Cruttenden, 1997). Combining prosody and gesture allows children to overcome difficulties in mastering the phonological system, and to enter syntax thanks to early multimodal constructions.The expression of negation is a privileged locus to study multimodal combinations of gesture with prosody, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. There is a cross-modal continuity in the expression of negation speech acts, which are first expressed by gestures, then by speech (Bates, Camaioni and Volterra, 1976; Bates et al., 1979). From the end of their first year on, children can express negation with headshakes, index waves or palms-up gestures. Prosody and gestures are also combined to express refusals, protests or epistemic negations long before the emergence of the first verbal negation markers (around six months later). It is therefore crucial to analyze gestures and prosody with an integrative approach.The goal of this study is two-fold. We determine to what extent children combine body movements, symbolic gestures and prosody to express their communicative intentions more efficiently when they express negation, and we analyze the respective weight of each modality in language development. We analyzed the longitudinal recordings of a monolingual French girl recorded monthly for one hour between the ages of 1;02 and 2;09 (MLU 1.1 to 4.3) in spontaneous interaction with her parents (Paris Corpus, Morgenstern, 2009; Morgenstern and Parisse, 2012). Syntactic development was determined by calculating the MLU (Brown, 1973) and lexicon size, by counting the number of different words produced during each session (Vihman, 1985; Vihman \& Miller, 1988).Our study focuses on the 96 multimodal productions containing the word “non” (no) produced in isolation and on strings of reduplicated “non”s. Three types of analyses were conducted. First we coded prosodic properties (direction of the intonation contour, accent range, register, duration, intensity), using the software PRAAT (Dodane and Massini-Cagliari, 2010). Second, we coded nonverbal behavior (hand gestures, joint attention expressed through eye gaze and checking behavior, body movement and facial expressions), using the ELAN software. Third, we compared the prosodic and gestural analyses to look for directional and temporal synchronization patterns.At the prosodic level, results showed that the first vocal “no” emerged around 14 months in a reduplicated form and was exaggerated at the prosodic level. Between 14 and 21 months, it was mainly realized with rising intonation contours and increased syllabic duration. Between 22 and 25 months, it was mainly produced with rise-fall intonation contours and finally, from 26 to 28 months, with flat or falling intonation contours and reduced syllabic duration. Such an evolution seems to reflect a better control in the expression of negation as of 25 months. At the non-vocal level, body movements were most often produced in coordination with verbal production and their direction was mostly synchronized with the direction of intonation contours (rising contours with rising gestures) between 14 and 19 months. The more the child expressed protests against adults, the more she exaggerated both her prosody (higher accent range, register, intensity and duration) and her body movements. After 19 months, she used mostly upper-body gestures and movements (head, chest) with a majority of forward and backward or oscillating movements in close parallel with her prosodic contours. As her mastery of speech developed, she gradually stopped exaggerating her prosody and resorted less to non-verbal behavior.Gestures, body movements and prosody provide powerful resources that the child integrates to make her multimodal entry into language. If children use each modality (vocal and visual) more and more skillfully thanks to adults’ scaffolding in everyday life interactions, both modalities actually develop together. This study therefore gives us insights on how children become experts in face-to-face social interaction, which is multimodal in nature.ReferencesBolinger, D. (1983). Intonation and gesture. American Speech, Vol. 58, 2, pp 156-174.Balog, H. and Brentari, D. (2008). The relationship between early gestures and intonation. First Language, 28, pp. 141-163.Bates, E., Camaioni, L. and Volterra, V. (1976). Sensorimotor performative. In: Bates, E. (Ed.). Language and Context: the Acquisition of Pragmatics. New York: Academic Press.Bates, E. (1979). Emergence of symbols in language and action: similarities and differences. Paper and Reports on Child Language Development, Stanford, n.17, p.106-118.Brown, R. (1973). A first Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 437 p.Cruttenden, A. (1997). Intonation (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Dodane, C.; Massini-Cagliari, G. (2010). La prosodie dans l’acquisition de la négation : étude de cas d’une enfant monolingue française. In ALFA, Revista de Linguística, v.54, 2, 335-360.Jusczyk, P. W. Dividing and conquering linguistic input (1998). In: Gruber, M. C.; Olson, K.; Wysocki, T. (Ed.). CLS 34. The Panels. v. 2, Chicago, p. 293-310.Mehler, J., Bertoncini, J. and Barriere (1978). M. Infant recognition of mother's voice. Perception, Bristol, n.7, p.491-497.Morgenstern, A. (2009). L'enfant dans la langue. Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, ParisMorgenstern, A \& Parisse, C. (2012). The Paris Corpus. French Language Studies, 22(1), 7-12, Cambridge University Press.Vihman, M. (1985). Language differentiation by the bilingual infant. Journal of Child Language, 12, 297–324.Vihman, M. \& Miller, R. (1988). Words and babble at the threshold of language acquisition. In M. D. Smith \& J. L. Locke (Eds), The emergent lexicon: The child’s development of linguistic vocabulary (pp. 151–183). San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc.
@inproceedings{ dodane_role_2014,
  address = {Padoue, Italy},
  title = {The role of gesture and prosody in children’s multimodal pathway into negation},
  url = {https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01088434},
  abstract = {Through constant exposure to adult input in dialogue, children’s language gradually develops into rich linguistic constructions that contain multiple cross-modal elements subtly combined for coherent communicative functions. Prosody and gesture in particular both facilitate children’s entry into language. Children not only demonstrate sensitivity to the intonation and rhythm of their native tongue from birth (Mehler et al., 1978; Jusczyck, 1998), but they also use the prosodic level to structure their first productions, especially after 9-10 months. Similarly, gestures play a crucial role in children’s entry into symbolic communication. Balog and Brentari (2008) have shown that since the single-word period, children coordinate their verbal and nonverbal behavior, which makes their meaning more comprehensible, just like adults do (Bolinger, 1983; Cruttenden, 1997). Combining prosody and gesture allows children to overcome difficulties in mastering the phonological system, and to enter syntax thanks to early multimodal constructions.The expression of negation is a privileged locus to study multimodal combinations of gesture with prosody, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. There is a cross-modal continuity in the expression of negation speech acts, which are first expressed by gestures, then by speech (Bates, Camaioni and Volterra, 1976; Bates et al., 1979). From the end of their first year on, children can express negation with headshakes, index waves or palms-up gestures. Prosody and gestures are also combined to express refusals, protests or epistemic negations long before the emergence of the first verbal negation markers (around six months later). It is therefore crucial to analyze gestures and prosody with an integrative approach.The goal of this study is two-fold. We determine to what extent children combine body movements, symbolic gestures and prosody to express their communicative intentions more efficiently when they express negation, and we analyze the respective weight of each modality in language development. We analyzed the longitudinal recordings of a monolingual French girl recorded monthly for one hour between the ages of 1;02 and 2;09 (MLU 1.1 to 4.3) in spontaneous interaction with her parents (Paris Corpus, Morgenstern, 2009; Morgenstern and Parisse, 2012). Syntactic development was determined by calculating the MLU (Brown, 1973) and lexicon size, by counting the number of different words produced during each session (Vihman, 1985; Vihman \& Miller, 1988).Our study focuses on the 96 multimodal productions containing the word “non” (no) produced in isolation and on strings of reduplicated “non”s. Three types of analyses were conducted. First we coded prosodic properties (direction of the intonation contour, accent range, register, duration, intensity), using the software PRAAT (Dodane and Massini-Cagliari, 2010). Second, we coded nonverbal behavior (hand gestures, joint attention expressed through eye gaze and checking behavior, body movement and facial expressions), using the ELAN software. Third, we compared the prosodic and gestural analyses to look for directional and temporal synchronization patterns.At the prosodic level, results showed that the first vocal “no” emerged around 14 months in a reduplicated form and was exaggerated at the prosodic level. Between 14 and 21 months, it was mainly realized with rising intonation contours and increased syllabic duration. Between 22 and 25 months, it was mainly produced with rise-fall intonation contours and finally, from 26 to 28 months, with flat or falling intonation contours and reduced syllabic duration. Such an evolution seems to reflect a better control in the expression of negation as of 25 months. At the non-vocal level, body movements were most often produced in coordination with verbal production and their direction was mostly synchronized with the direction of intonation contours (rising contours with rising gestures) between 14 and 19 months. The more the child expressed protests against adults, the more she exaggerated both her prosody (higher accent range, register, intensity and duration) and her body movements. After 19 months, she used mostly upper-body gestures and movements (head, chest) with a majority of forward and backward or oscillating movements in close parallel with her prosodic contours. As her mastery of speech developed, she gradually stopped exaggerating her prosody and resorted less to non-verbal behavior.Gestures, body movements and prosody provide powerful resources that the child integrates to make her multimodal entry into language. If children use each modality (vocal and visual) more and more skillfully thanks to adults’ scaffolding in everyday life interactions, both modalities actually develop together. This study therefore gives us insights on how children become experts in face-to-face social interaction, which is multimodal in nature.ReferencesBolinger, D. (1983). Intonation and gesture. American Speech, Vol. 58, 2, pp 156-174.Balog, H. and Brentari, D. (2008). The relationship between early gestures and intonation. First Language, 28, pp. 141-163.Bates, E., Camaioni, L. and Volterra, V. (1976). Sensorimotor performative. In: Bates, E. (Ed.). Language and Context: the Acquisition of Pragmatics. New York: Academic Press.Bates, E. (1979). Emergence of symbols in language and action: similarities and differences. Paper and Reports on Child Language Development, Stanford, n.17, p.106-118.Brown, R. (1973). A first Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 437 p.Cruttenden, A. (1997). Intonation (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Dodane, C.; Massini-Cagliari, G. (2010). La prosodie dans l’acquisition de la négation : étude de cas d’une enfant monolingue française. In ALFA, Revista de Linguística, v.54, 2, 335-360.Jusczyk, P. W. Dividing and conquering linguistic input (1998). In: Gruber, M. C.; Olson, K.; Wysocki, T. (Ed.). CLS 34. The Panels. v. 2, Chicago, p. 293-310.Mehler, J., Bertoncini, J. and Barriere (1978). M. Infant recognition of mother's voice. Perception, Bristol, n.7, p.491-497.Morgenstern, A. (2009). L'enfant dans la langue. Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, ParisMorgenstern, A \& Parisse, C. (2012). The Paris Corpus. French Language Studies, 22(1), 7-12, Cambridge University Press.Vihman, M. (1985). Language differentiation by the bilingual infant. Journal of Child Language, 12, 297–324.Vihman, M. \& Miller, R. (1988). Words and babble at the threshold of language acquisition. In M. D. Smith \& J. L. Locke (Eds), The emergent lexicon: The child’s development of linguistic vocabulary (pp. 151–183). San Diego, CA: Academic Press, Inc.},
  urldate = {2015-01-30TZ},
  booktitle = {Sound to {Gesture} conference ({S}2G)},
  author = {Dodane, Christelle and Beaupoil, Pauline and Del Ré, Alessandra and Boutet, Dominique and Morgenstern, Aliyah},
  year = {2014},
  note = {00000}
}
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