The Resilience of Language: What Gesture Creation in Deaf Children Can Tell Us about How All Children Learn Language

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April 2003



Imagine a child who has never seen or heard any language at all. Would such a child be able to invent a language on her own? Despite what one might guess, the children described in this book make it clear that the answer to this question is 'yes'. The children are congenitally deaf and cannot learn the spoken language that surrounds them. In addition, they have not yet been exposed to sign language, either by their hearing parents or their oral schools. Nevertheless, the children use their hands to communicate--they gesture--and those gestures take on many of the forms and functions of language. The properties of language that we find in the deaf children's gestures are just those properties that do not need to be handed down from generation to generation, but can be reinvented by a child "de novo - the resilient properties of language. This book suggests that all children, deaf or hearing, come to language-learning ready to develop precisely these language properties. In this way, studies of gesture creation in deaf children can show us the way that children themselves have a large hand in shaping how language is learned.


Part 1: The Problem of Language Learning. Out of the Mouths of Babes. How Do Children Learn Language? Language-Learning Across the Globe. Language-Learning by Hand. Does More or Less Input Matter? Part 2: Language Development without a Language Model. Background on Deafness and Language-Learning. How Do We Begin? Words. The Parts of Words. Combining Words Into Simple Sentences. Making Complex Sentences out of Simple Ones: Recursion. Building a System. Beyond the Here-And-Now: The Functions Gesture Serves. How Might Hearing Parents Foster Gesture Creation in Their Deaf Children? Gesture Creation Across the Globe. Part 3: The Conditions that Foster Language and Language-Learning. How Do the Resilient Properties of Language Help Children Learn Language? When Does Gesture Become Language? Is Language Innate? The Resilience of Language. References. Author Index. Subject Index.


"In this book, Susan Goldin-Meadow summarizes her brilliant and ground-breaking investigations of the gesture systems invented by deaf children with no language input. Goldin-Meadow accomplished the seemingly impossible: she developed innovative methods and meticulously applied them to analyze these children's gestures. She shows us that the children's individual and combined gestures have an inner structure that shares many of the features of natural language. Is language innate? You can't answer that question without taking Goldin-Meadow's work into account." - Virginia Valian, Hunter College
EAN: 9781841690261
ISBN: 1841690260
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2003
Seitenanzahl: 262 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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