1. Early gesture use in infants is linked to later word learning and can predict which lexical items will enter a child's verbal vocabulary.
2. Gesture+speech combinations in infants can predict the age at which they first produce two-word utterances, indicating early stages of language learning.
3. Two distinct gesture measures early in development (18 months) can selectively predict later language learning, including vocabulary size and sentence complexity at 42 months.
The article "Early gesture selectively predicts later language learning" by Rowe (2009) presents a study that explores the relationship between early gesture use and later language development in children. The article provides valuable insights into the predictive power of early gestures on vocabulary size and sentence complexity. However, there are some potential biases and limitations to consider.
One potential bias is the sample selection. The study only included typically developing children from the greater Chicago area who were being raised as monolingual English speakers. This limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations, such as bilingual or multilingual children or those with developmental delays or disorders.
Another limitation is the reliance on naturalistic data from observations at 18 and 42 months. While this approach provides ecologically valid data, it also introduces variability in terms of the activities observed and the quality of recordings. Additionally, relying solely on parent-child interactions may not capture all aspects of language development, such as interactions with peers or exposure to media.
The article also makes some unsupported claims, such as suggesting that early gesture use can predict specific aspects of later language development, such as sentence complexity. While there is evidence to support a relationship between early gestures and later vocabulary size, more research is needed to establish a causal link between early gestures and specific aspects of syntax.
Furthermore, while the article acknowledges that there may be alternative explanations for why early gesture use predicts later language development (e.g., global communicative skill), it does not explore these possibilities in depth. This leaves open the possibility that other factors may be driving the observed relationships.
Overall, while the article provides valuable insights into the predictive power of early gestures on later language development, it is important to consider its limitations and potential biases when interpreting its findings. Further research is needed to establish a causal link between early gestures and specific aspects of syntax and to generalize these findings to broader populations.