Analysis of Intentional Communication of Normal Children from the Prelinguistic to the Multiword Stage The purpose of this study was to collect quantitative measures describing the use of intentional communication by 15 normal children during the prelinguistic, one-word, and multiword stages. A standard communication sample was collected at each language stage from each subject interacting with a clinician. Measures of rates of intentional communicative ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1988
Analysis of Intentional Communication of Normal Children from the Prelinguistic to the Multiword Stage
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy M. Wetherby
    Florida State University
  • Debra H. Cain
    Florida State University
  • Dianne G. Yonclas
    Florida State University
  • Virginia G. Walker
    Florida State University
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1988
Analysis of Intentional Communication of Normal Children from the Prelinguistic to the Multiword Stage
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1988, Vol. 31, 240-252. doi:10.1044/jshr.3102.240
History: Received January 9, 1987 , Accepted October 5, 1987
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1988, Vol. 31, 240-252. doi:10.1044/jshr.3102.240
History: Received January 9, 1987; Accepted October 5, 1987

The purpose of this study was to collect quantitative measures describing the use of intentional communication by 15 normal children during the prelinguistic, one-word, and multiword stages. A standard communication sample was collected at each language stage from each subject interacting with a clinician. Measures of rates of intentional communicative acts indicated an average of about 1 act per rain at the prelinguistic stage, 2 acts per min at the one-word stage, and 5 acts per min by the multiword stage. Analysis of communicative functions indicated that virtually all of the subjects displayed some acts for regulating behavior, engaging in social interaction, and referencing joint attention at all language stages. Changes in the proportions of specific communicative functions at each language stage were found. Analysis of discourse structure using these sampling procedures indicated that most subjects engaged in more initiated than respondent acts. Analysis of communicative means showed that the predominant means were gestural and vocal during the prelinguistic and one-word stage and verbal by the multiword stage. Changes in the proportions of isolated and coordinated gestures and vocalizations at each language stage were found. General descriptions of the syllabic shapes of intentional vocal acts at the prelinguistic and one-word stages demonstrated that most of the subjects used a substantial proportion of consonants in both mono- and multisyllabic vocalizations. Clinical applications of these findings to the early identification of children with the potential for language impairments will be discussed.

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