Gesture-plus-word combinations, transitional forms, and language development
The aim of the present study was to evaluate relationships between early production of gesture, gesture-plus-word combinations and transitional forms on successive lexical and syntactic skills. Twenty-four children interacting with their mothers were observed. We found that complementary
gesture-plus-word combinations and transitional forms use at 18 months were related with lexical skill and MLU — but not with utterance complexity — at 24 months; supplementary gesture-plus-word combinations use at 18 months, instead, was related with utterance complexity, but
not with lexical skill and MLU. These relationships are explained in terms of increasing communicative competence in the child and also in terms of the adult’s contribution to linguistic development.