Developing language in a developing body: the relationship between motor development and language development

J Child Lang. 2010 Mar;37(2):229-61. doi: 10.1017/S0305000909990432. Epub 2010 Jan 25.


ABSTRACTDuring the first eighteen months of life, infants acquire and refine a whole set of new motor skills that significantly change the ways in which the body moves in and interacts with the environment. In this review article, I argue that motor acquisitions provide infants with an opportunity to practice skills relevant to language acquisition before they are needed for that purpose; and that the emergence of new motor skills changes infants' experience with objects and people in ways that are relevant for both general communicative development and the acquisition of language. Implications of this perspective for current views of co-occurring language and motor impairments and for methodology in the field of child language research are also considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Development*
  • Child Language
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Motor Activity
  • Motor Skills*