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pre- +‎ verbal


preverbal (not comparable)

  1. (child development) At an early stage of development in which one is not yet able to communicate by means of words.
    • 1989, Anne Fernald, "Intonation and Communicative Intent in Mothers' Speech to Infants: Is the Melody the Message?," Child Development, Vol. 60, No. 6, p. 1497,
      The expressive power of intonation in communication with preverbal infants was a topic of considerable interest in the early literature on language acquisition.
  2. (linguistics, of a part of speech) Occurring before the verb in a sentence or expression.
    • 1974, J. A. Dunn, "Preverbal Position in Coast Tsimshian," International Journal of American Linguistics, vol. 40, no. 1, p. 10,
      I will attempt to document some recent syntactic (word order) changes involving preverbal noun phrases in the Coast Tsimshian language.