Rural and urban differences in language socialization and early vocabulary development in Mozambique

Abstract

We investigate the amount of speech and (co-speech) gestures addressed to infants at 1;1 years of age in rural and urban Mozambique, and correlate these amounts with vocabulary size measured at 1;5 and 2;1. We found that urban infants are exposed to more than three times as much speech and co-speech gestures than rural infants. The results show that the amounts of co-speech gestures and speech predict later vocabulary development in the urban community, but not in the rural community. The results further show that rural infants are delayed in their vocabulary development, which may in part be explained by a transition in the socialization style rural infants experience between the age of 1;1 and 1;5.


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