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Advances in the Sign-Language Development of Deaf Children$
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Brenda Schick, Marc Marschark, and Patricia Elizabeth Spencer

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195180947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195180947.001.0001

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Acquiring a Visually Motivated Language: Evidence From Diverse Learners

Acquiring a Visually Motivated Language: Evidence From Diverse Learners

(p.102) 5 Acquiring a Visually Motivated Language: Evidence From Diverse Learners
Advances in the Sign-Language Development of Deaf Children

Brenda Schick

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the acquisition of visual, iconically motivated languages from several different perspectives. First, it describes the development of verb agreement, classifiers, and discourse mapping by deaf children who are learning sign language from their deaf parents in a manner similar to how hearing children learn language. Second, it explores language development in children who are deaf but not exposed to sign languages, who have been found to develop gesture systems that are language-like. Third, it describes language learning in children who are learning the grammatical structure of spoken English, using a visual representation of English grammar. These children have been observed to produce grammatical structures which make sense only when sign languages are considered. Finally, the chapter describes a unique population of learners who quite literally have been inventing their own language — deaf children and adults in Nicaragua — who are creating a language which has aspects of linguistic organization found in other signed languages.

Keywords:   visually motivated language, diverse learners, iconically motivated languages, verb agreement

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