The spontaneous development of symbolic gestures in a normal infant of hearing parents is described. From 12.5 to 17.5 months of age, 13 gestures depicting objects, events, and qualities were developed, the majority in the context of structured routines involving adults. 16 additional symbolic gestures were purposefully taught to the infant by adults. All 29 gestures occurred frequently and were used flexibly to refer to real items and pictures. Combinations of signs with other signs and words were also noted, their initial appearance coinciding with the advent of two-word combinations. Despite the heavy use of symbolic gestures, vocal development was advanced, an indication that gesturing is not necessarily a result of, nor a cause of, poor vocal skills. The data are described as supporting Werner and Kaplala’s contention in 1963 that sensorimotor behaviors are natural candidates for early labelling.

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