Gesture en route to words: evidence from danish and zapotec children and their caretakers

Kristine Jensen de López



This study explores the communicative production of gestural and vocal modalities by 8 normally developing children in two different cultures (Danish and Zapotec; Mexican indigenous) (16 to 20 months). We analyzed spontaneous production of gestures and words in children's transition to the two-word stage as well as interaction between children and their respective caretakers' use of gestural communication. Consistent with previous studies the results showed that all children used the gestural modality extensively across the two cultures. Two subgroups of children were identified regarding whether the children showed an early preference for the gestural or the vocal modality. Through Analyzes of two-element combinations of words and/or gestures, we observed a relative increase in cross-modal (gesture-word and two-word) combinations. The results are discussed in terms understanding gestures as a transition period and in relation to the degree to which gestures can be understood as a universal communicative device applied by children.


Gesture; words; infancy; development; Danish; Zapotec; parent-infant interaction

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Facultad de Psicología. Servicio de Psicología Aplicada.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Attribution-NonCommercial  (CC BY-NC)This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.


Accion Psicologica

Applied Psychology Service (SPA), Faculty of Psychology (UNED).

C/ Juan del Rosal nº 10 28040 Madrid.


eISSN: 2255-1271