Ahead of Publication
Through constant exposure to adult input in interaction, children’s language gradually develops into rich linguistic constructions containing multiple cross-modal elements subtly used together for communicative functions. Sensorimotor schemas provide the "grounding" of language in experience and lead to children’s access to the symbolic function. With the emergence of vocal or signed productions, gestures do not disappear but remain functional and diversify in form and function as children become skilled adult multimodal conversationalists.
This volume examines the role of gesture over the human lifespan in its complex interaction with speech and sign. Gesture is explored in the different stages before, during, and after language has fully developed and a special focus is placed on the role of gesture in language learning and cognitive development. Specific chapters are devoted to the use of gesture in atypical populations.