ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2022

Speaking Rate in 3-4-Year-Old Children: Its Correlation with Gesture Rate and Word Learning

Zhenyang Xi, Yan Gu, Gabriella Vigliocco

Past research has shown that children before 3-year-old often use gestures while speaking and that the relationship between speech and gesture may relate to vocabulary development. Using a new corpus of semi-naturalistic interaction between caregivers and their 3-4-year-old children (ECOLANG Corpus), this study investigates the relationship between speaking and gesture rates and assesses their correlation with word learning. Specifically, we studied speaking and gesture rates of 32 English-speaking children while talking with their caregivers about sets of pre-selected toys. The children completed a vocabulary test at the time of the experiment and one year later. Looking at 3-4-year-old children is key to capturing developmental changes from using gestures as a complement to speech to using gesture and speech with good synchronization. Results show that children with a fast speaking rate also demonstrated a higher gesture rate. However, there was no correlation between speaking rate or gesture rate and word learning. Thus, our findings show that by 3-4 years of age, children produce utterances where speech and gesture are synchronized. Moreover, by this age, the relationship between the two is no longer a predictor of vocabulary learning. We speculate that at this age, gesture use can support conceptual development and processing.


doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-48

Cite as: Xi, Z., Gu, Y., Vigliocco, G. (2022) Speaking Rate in 3-4-Year-Old Children: Its Correlation with Gesture Rate and Word Learning. Proc. Speech Prosody 2022, 235-239, doi: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-48

@inproceedings{xi22_speechprosody,
  author={Zhenyang Xi and Yan Gu and Gabriella Vigliocco},
  title={{Speaking Rate in 3-4-Year-Old Children: Its Correlation with Gesture Rate and Word Learning}},
  year=2022,
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2022},
  pages={235--239},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2022-48}
}