Relationships Between Vocalization Forms and Functions in Infancy: Preliminary Implications for Early Communicative Assessment and Intervention Purpose This preliminary study explored relationships between form and function in prelinguistic vocalizations to increase our understanding of early communicative development and to provide potential clinical implications for early communicative assessment and intervention. Method Twenty typically developing infants—5 infants in each of 4 age groups, from 3 to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 01, 2014
Relationships Between Vocalization Forms and Functions in Infancy: Preliminary Implications for Early Communicative Assessment and Intervention
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Suneeti Nathani Iyer
    University of Georgia, Athens
  • David J. Ertmer
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Suneeti Nathani Iyer: snathani@uga.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Ken Bleile
    Associate Editor: Ken Bleile×
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 01, 2014
Relationships Between Vocalization Forms and Functions in Infancy: Preliminary Implications for Early Communicative Assessment and Intervention
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2014, Vol. 23, 587-598. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-13-0091
History: Received August 8, 2013 , Revised January 20, 2014 , Accepted June 6, 2014
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2014, Vol. 23, 587-598. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-13-0091
History: Received August 8, 2013; Revised January 20, 2014; Accepted June 6, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose This preliminary study explored relationships between form and function in prelinguistic vocalizations to increase our understanding of early communicative development and to provide potential clinical implications for early communicative assessment and intervention.

Method Twenty typically developing infants—5 infants in each of 4 age groups, from 3 to 20 months of age—were included. Vocalizations from these infants had previously been categorized for their form (Nathani, Ertmer, & Stark, 2006) and function (Stark, Bernstein, & Demorest, 1993) characteristics. In the present study, cross-classification tabulations between form and function were conducted to examine relationships between vocalization types and their apparent uses.

Results As anticipated, earlier developing forms were mostly associated with earlier developing functions, and later developing forms were mostly associated with later developing functions. However, there were some exceptions such that some forms were associated with a variety of functions, and vice versa.

Conclusions The results suggest that some forms are more tightly coupled to function than others in the prelinguistic and early linguistic period. Preliminary implications for developmental theory, future research, and clinical applications are discussed. Larger, longitudinal studies with typical and atypical populations and stricter methodological controls are needed to validate these findings.

Acknowledgments
Portions of this work were presented at the 2004 International Conference on Infant Studies, Chicago, IL. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of L. E. Bernstein and M. E. Demorest in investigating the concept of vocalization function in an earlier article (Stark et al., 1993). We are also indebted to Mallika Raman for her assistance with data coding and Nicole Lazar for her assistance with statistical analysis. Finally, these studies would not have been possible without the visionary work of our late mentor, Rachel E. Stark.
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