Narrative Development in Young Children: Gesture, Imagery, and Cohesion

Narrative Development in Young Children: Gesture, Imagery, and Cohesion

by Elena T. Levy, David McNeill


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As children begin to use language in early childhood, they produce increasingly large units of coherent speech, including narrative descriptions of events. This book examines the process of narrative development in young children, focusing on the development of 'cohesion' - the use of speech and gesture to create coherent perspectives on events. Surveying early narrative development in which gesture plays an integral part, the book explores the development of cohesive, clause-linking devices during the period from age two to three. Illustrated with longitudinal cases studies, the book examines the crib-talk of two-year-old Emily and compares it to the discourse patterns of storybooks and nursery rhymes, and to her father's pre-bedtime routines. In a second case study, the authors trace the changing relationships between speech and gesture in the spontaneous narratives of two-year-old Ella. This book will be invaluable to students and researchers in language acquisition, developmental psychology and gesture studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107041110
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 05/28/2015
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.18(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

Elena T. Levy is an Associate Professor in Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her publications on narrative discourse include studies of typically developing children and adults, as well as individuals with autistic spectrum disorders. She is co-editor with Susan D. Duncan, Justine Cassell of Gesture and the Dynamic Dimension of Language (2007).

David McNeill is Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Chicago. His publications include a 'trilogy' of gesture books, Hand and Mind (1992), Gesture and Thought (2005) and How Language Began: Gesture and Speech in Human Evolution (2012), plus an edited volume, Language and Gesture (2000).

Table of Contents

1. Toward an embodied account of narrative development; Part I. Narratives As Symbol Formation: 2. Narratives, cohesion and symbol formation; 3. Social and natural sources of change; Part II. Social Sources of Cohesion: 4. Social sources of cohesion - cohesive sources of coherence; 5. How early cohesion is grounded in enactment; Part III. Gestures, Cohesion, and Narrative Development: 6. Dual semiosis and the roots of cohesion; 7. Gestural sources of early cohesion - insights from Ella's stories; 8. Gestures, cohesion, and symbol formation; 9. Implications for children with autism; 10. The material carrier; Appendix 1. Transcription of Ella's speech and gestures; Appendix 2. Description of Rosie and Jim episodes (94 weeks; 23:00 on video).

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