Multimodal constructions in children : is the headshake part of language?

Mats Andrén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Swedish children’s use of the headshake from 18 to 30 months shows a developmental progression from rote-learned coordination with speech to increasingly more flexible and productive coordination with speech. To deal with these observations, I introduce the concept of multimodal constructions in order to extend usage-based approaches to language learning and construction grammar into the kinetic domain. These ideas have consequences for the (meta-)theoretical question of whether gesture can be said to be part of language or not. I suggest that some speech-coordinated gestures, including the headshake, can be considered part of language, also in the traditional sense of language as a conventionalized system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-170
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics

Free keywords

  • development
  • language
  • gesture
  • construction grammar
  • semiotics


Dive into the research topics of 'Multimodal constructions in children : is the headshake part of language?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this