Taking center stage: Infants' active role in language learning

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Yana Kuchirko, Daniel D. Suh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, we highlight the ways that infants actively shape their social experiences around language-through their everyday behaviors and developmental advances. We review the perceptual, social, and cognitive capacities that infants bring to the task of learning language. We then show that infant real-time exploratory, play, communicative, and locomotor behaviors are impetuses for social interactions. As infants act on their worlds, they elicit temporally contingent, lexically rich, developmentally attuned, multimodal inputs from parents. Indeed, much of the speech that parents direct to infants is driven by what infants are doing in the moment. Finally, we examine how developmental changes in infants' language, play, and motor skills expand infants' opportunities for learning language. As infants progress in abilities such as talking and walking, they engage with the objects and people of their environments in new ways, thereby eliciting novel language inputs from parents and other caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationActive Learning from Infancy to Childhood
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Motivation, Cognition, and Linguistic Mechanisms
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319771823
ISBN (Print)9783319771816
StatePublished - May 4 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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