General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 16:00 to 16:30 Oral presentation
Synchronous gesture-prosody alignments in narrations by children with specific language impairment (SLI)
Speaker: Alfonso Igualada, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Authors: Alfonso Igualada, Charlotte Wray, Pilar Prieto & Courtenay Norbury


Research has shown that a tight temporal synchrony exists between gestures and prosody in adult discourse (Loehr, 2012) and infants at the babbling stage (Esteve-Gibert & Prieto, 2014). This synchrony in 12-month-old infants has been related to later language abilities (Igualada, et al., 2015). Children with SLI produce a greater proportion of representational gestures in narrative tasks, possibly reflecting a word retrieval compensatory strategy (Blake et al. 2008; Iverson & Braddock, 2011). However, little is known about whether SLI produced gestures synchronous with speech similarly to typically developing (TD) peers (see Blake et al. 2008 for the only study on this topic which used broad time measures), and importantly whether speech fluency play a role on synchronous gesture-prosody productions (Mayberry, et al., 1998). Our study aims to identify these patterns of synchronicity in SLI children during dysfluent and fluent speech. Gesture and speech productions by ten 8-year-old children with SLI and ten age-matched TD peers in a narration task were analysed. These were analyzed by fine temporal and semantic gesture-speech alignments, and a prosodic analysis of pitch accentuation and intonational phrasing. During dysfluent speech, children with SLI used more gestures overlapping with speech dysfluencies that TD peers. In addition, SLI children produced more synchronous gesture-speech productions, and “replacing gestures” (i.e., gestures which convey meaning not expressed in speech) than TD peers during dysfluent speech. These results are related to previous studies reporting that SLI children frequently use gestures as a formulation strategy to compensate for language deficits. Secondly, preliminary results of gesture-prosody alignment during fluent speech indicate that children with SLI used gestures together with a greater density of focal pitch accents and intonational phrase units than TD children. We interpret this overuse of prominences and intonation units by SLI children as a difficulty formulating and planning fluent discourse. Blake, J., Myszczyszyn, D., Jokel, A., & Bebiroglu, N. (2008). Gestures accompanying speech in specifically language-impaired children and their timing with speech. First Language, 28(2), 237–253. Esteve-Gibert, N., & Prieto, P. (2014). Infants temporally coordinate gesture-speech combinations before they produce their first words. Speech Communication, 57, 301–316. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2013.06.006 Igualada, A., Bosch, L., & Prieto, P. (2015). Language development at 18 months is related to multimodal communicative strategies at 12 months. Infant Behavior and Development, 39, 42–52. Iverson, J. M., & Braddock, B. A. (2011). Gesture and Motor Skill in Relation Language Impairment, 54(February), 72–86. Loehr, D. (2012) Temporal, structural, and pragmatic synchrony between intonation and gesture. Laboratory Phonology, 3(1), 71-89. Mayberry, R. I., Jaques, J., & DeDe, G. (1998). What stuttering reveals about the development of the gesture-speech relationship. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 1998(79), 77–88.
Further information:

Final version (16 KB)

Difficulties in language development
Place: Room A-16

Other activities in Difficulties in language development
14:30 h. to 15:00 h.Oral presentation

Idiom understanding in Specific Language Impairment population and its relationship with pragmatics

Speaker: Clara Andrés, Universitat Jaume I de Castellón
15:30 h. to 16:00 h.Oral presentation

No trade-off between Declarative and Procedural Memory in Children with Specific Language Impairment

Speaker: Kuppuraj Sengottuvel, University of Oxford
15:00 h. to 15:30 h.Oral presentation

How maternal education affects linguistic abilities in monolingual Spanish-speaking children with and without Language Impairment

Speaker: Alejandra Auza, Hospital General Dr. Manuel Gea González