Roles of Adult’s Gestures and Eye Gaze in Whole or Object Part Presenting


We investigated the use of a caregiver’s actions and eye-gaze in teaching whole or part names. The experimental material consisted of two everyday objects, a toothbrush (the whole name was “haburashi”, the part name was “ke”) and a ball-point pen. We coded 4 action type categories and 2 eye gaze type categories based on the video data of 19 4-year-old child-mother dyads using frame-by-frame method. Results of actions showed that when the caregiver uttered a whole object name such as toothbrush (“haburashi”), the caregiver tended to present the object to the child by showing it. When she uttered a part name to teach the part name such as brush (“ke”), she pointed at the object part. Results of eye gaze analysis showed whereas the caregiver tended to look at the child’s face in teaching whole names, she tended to look at the object in teaching part names. We found that caregivers use different gestures and eye gaze directions to teach whole or object part names. The study suggests that caregivers help young children’s word learning using appropriate gestures and gaze directions.

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