By the same authors

From the same journal

What paves the way to conventional language? The predictive value of babble, pointing and socioeconomic status

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Full text download(s)



Publication details

JournalChild Development
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Nov 2015
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 10 Nov 2016
Number of pages31
Early online date10/11/16
Original languageEnglish


A child’s first words mark the emergence of a uniquely human ability. Theories of the developmental steps that pave the way for word production have proposed that either vocal or gestural precursors are key. These accounts were tested by assessing the developmental synchrony in the onset of babbling, pointing and word production for 46 infants observed monthly between the ages of 9 and 18 months. Babbling and pointing did not develop in tight synchrony and babble onset alone predicted first words. Pointing and maternal education emerged as predictors of lexical knowledge only in relation to a measure taken at 18months. This suggests a far more important role for early phonological development in the creation of the lexicon than previously thought.

Bibliographical note

© The Authors, 2016. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations