Gestural Hesitation Reveals Children’s Competence on Multimodal Communication: Emergence of Disguised Adaptor


Speakers sometimes modify their gestures during the process of production into adaptors such as hair touching or eye scratching. Such disguised adaptors are evidence that the speaker can monitor their gestures. In this study, we investigated when and how disguised adaptors are first produced by children. Sixty elementary school children participated in this study (ten children in each age group; from 7 to 12 years old). They were instructed to watch a cartoon and retell it to their parents. The results showed that children did not produce disguised adaptors until the age of 8. The disguised adaptors accompany fluent speech until the children are 10 years old and accompany dysfluent speech until they reach 11 or 12 years of age. These results suggest that children start to monitor their gestures when they are 9 or 10 years old. Cognitive changes were considered as factors to influence emergence of disguised adaptors.

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