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Expression through Affect and Words in the Transition from Infancy to Language

Bloom, Lois; Beckwith, Richard; Capatides, Joanne Bitetti; Hafitz, Jeremie

The emergence of language at the end of infancy has a profound effect on the individual’s development throughout the lifespan. In this chapter, we suggest a model to explain why and how infants acquire language, and present data from a research study demonstrating the usefulness of the methodology derived from that model. In our theory, we propose that children acquire the forms of speech for expressing the contents of states of mind. In our methodology, we use attributions of the contents of states of mind underlying children's expressions for understanding how the one system of expression already available to infants, affect, is related to the acquisition of words as a new system for expressing meaning. Both affect and words expressed desires more often than beliefs, and desires for events that involved the child as actor more often than other persons. Whereas affect was the predominant form of expression to begin with, by the time of a vocabulary spurt toward the end of the single-word period, words expressed the majority of propositions in every category except one; the category of beliefs that involved other persons and their actions toward the child continued to be expressed more often with affect than with words.

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Also Published In

Title
Life-Span Development and Behavior: Volume 8
Publisher
Psychology Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
Human Development
Published Here
May 9, 2017
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