Tweety Project

Project Team: Kai Leung, Marcel Giezen, Jodee Santos

Project Description: Researchers have found that when caregivers are talking with children, they adjust both their language and their gestures when communicating with their children to meet the needs of the young language learner. When speaking to children with Down Syndrome, caregivers also adjust by increasing their gestures. Growing up in a bilingual family can be considered more linguistically (language) demanding as children need to keep track of and learn two languages at the same time. This project focused on how caregivers adjust their gestures, based on who they are speaking to - either their own child or an adult - in Spanish-only or in two languages, Basque and Spanish. Overall, bilingual mothers gestured more than monolingual mothers regardless of who they were speaking to and which language they used during a story re-telling activity. Of interest, we found that both monolingual and bilingual mothers increased their use of gestures to communicate a specific meaning when they were re-telling a story to their child.