chapter  4
15 Pages

The development of intentional communication

A re-analysis
ByLuigia Camaioni

The chapter offers a re-analysis of pre-linguistic communication development and the emergence of the communicative intention, starting with the classic studies published in the 1970s and a critical reappraisal of their conclusions in the light of new empirical evidence and the changes in interpretative approaches. It outlines the pre-intentional stage of communicative development and concentrates on the definition and determinants of the communicative intention itself. The chapter discusses what exactly an infant 'can do' at the communicative level in the first months of life, and how it becomes a competent and skilful communicative partner. Faced with the question of whether the ability to use instruments is a necessary and sufficient condition for the development of intentional communication, a number of authors give negative answers. The chapter concludes that the investigation of prelinguistic communication, and such an investigation cannot allow to draw conclusions regarding the relationships between pre-linguistic communication and language.