Date of Award

8-8-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Seyda Ozcaliskan

Second Advisor

Rose Sevcik

Third Advisor

Erika Hoff

Abstract

Monolingual children identify referents uniquely in gesture before they do so with words, and parents translate these gestures into words. Children benefit from these translations, acquiring the words their parents translated earlier than the ones that are not translated. Are bilingual children as likely as monolingual children to identify referents uniquely in gesture; and, if so, do parental translations have the same positive impact on the vocabulary development of bilingual children? Our results showed that the bilingual children—dominant in English or in Spanish—were as likely as monolingual children to identify referents uniquely in gesture. More important, the unique gestures, translated into words by the parents, were as likely to enter bilingual children’s speech, as it does for monolinguals—independent of language dominance. Our results suggest that parental response to child gesture plays as crucial of a role in the vocabulary development bilingual children as it does in monolinguals.

Available for download on Thursday, July 18, 2019

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