From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Communicating with Normal and Retarded Children. New York: Academic Press. Sign language. List of sign languages List by number of signers. Emirati Saudi Omani.
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But deaf individuals with limited early language exposure did significantly worse on acquiring English. Cormier, Schembri, Vinson, and Orfanidou found a linear relationship between age of acquisition of BSL and performance on a grammaticality judgment task for deaf participants who had first been exposed to BSL from birth through age 8. But this relationship did not exist for deaf participants who were later learners of BSL; Cormier et al. Early linguistic experience may affect aspects of cognitive development.
In contrast, deaf children of deaf parents develop theory of mind on the same schedule as hearing children born into hearing families. In sum, deaf children constitute the only sizeable population of children who may have delayed exposure to a first language. As such, language acquisition among deaf children constitutes a crucial test of the critical period hypothesis.
The evidence to date shows that early experience is indeed critical; even after years of experience, congenitally deaf individuals who gained their first exposure to a conventional language in late childhood or in adolescence show significant limitations in linguistic knowledge and performance, as compared to individuals who were immersed in a sign language from infancy. Moreover, the development of cognitive abilities such as theory of mind may be late in children with delayed or impoverished early linguistic exposure.
These findings have important policy implications for parents, educators, and clinicians; see, for example, Humphries, et al. Young children may be uniquely successful, not only in learning language, but in adding structure to an emergent language. We have already seen that deaf children of hearing parents produce home sign systems with many language-like properties; individual children—not their parents—appear to be the source of the structure in these systems.
Again, this evidence suggests that individual children can add structure to input that is in some ways deficient. Nicaraguan Sign Language NSL has developed just since the late s; prior to that time, there appears to have been no deaf community and no sign language in Nicaragua Polich, NSL has emerged largely independently, with minimal influence from outside the country.
On three measures of linguistic performance—the mean number of spatial modulations per verb, the proportion of spatial modulations used for shared reference, and a measure of fluency—second cohort signers exceeded first cohort signers. Senghas and Coppola noticed a second pattern within their results. Signers who had entered the community as young children did best: signers who were exposed to NSL before age 10 produced more spatial modulations per verb than did late-exposed signers. Moreover, second-cohort signers who were exposed before 6;6 produced more spatial modulations per verb than did their early-exposed counterparts in the first cohort.
Second-cohort signers who were exposed before age 10 were also more likely to use spatial modulations for shared reference than were their counterparts from the first cohort.
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These results show that signers who entered the Managua school as children led the development of Nicaraguan Sign Language. The signed languages of the deaf are an extraordinary expression of human cultural and linguistic diversity. As we have also seen in this article, signed languages and deaf communities present unusual research opportunities to scientists who work in tandem with those communities. Signing children—whether deaf or hearing, whether from deaf- or hearing-parented families—exploit a visual-gestural modality that has differing constraints and offers differing resources than the familiar oral-aural modality of spoken languages.
Moreover, deaf children born into nonsigning families regularly confront a break in the generation-to-generation transmission of language that is rarely faced by hearing children. By observing and understanding signing children, scientists can address fundamental questions about the human capacity for language that could not be addressed if the perspective of linguistics and of the language sciences were limited to languages that are spoken and heard. Figure 1 was drawn by Frank A.
The photographer for Figures 2 , 3 , and 4 was Annie Marks.
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My thanks also to Leah C. Geer and Elena Liskova for reading a draft of this article. Anderson, D. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education , 7 , 83— DOI: Bellugi, U.
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The onset of signing in young children. Lappeenranta, Finland, July 15—19, Find this resource:. Developmental milestones: Sign language acquisition and motor development. Child Development , 54 , — Cheek, A.
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Prelinguistic gesture predicts mastery and error in the production of first signs. Language 77 , — Chen Pichler, D. Word order variability and acquisition in American Sign Language. Doctoral dissertation, University of Connecticut. Pfau, M. Woll eds. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
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