Acquiring word class distinctions in American Sign Language

Autor/a: BRENTARI, Diane; COPPOLA, Marie; JUNG, Ashley; GOLDIN-MEADOW, Susan
Año: 2013
Editorial: Language Learning and Development, 2013
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación » Adquisición y desarrollo del lenguaje, Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


Handshape works differently in nouns vs. a class of verbsin American Sign Language (ASL), and thus can serve as a cue to distinguish between these two word classes. Handshapes representing characteristics of the object itself (object handshapes) and handshapes representing how the object is handled (handling handshapes) appear in both nouns and a particular type of verb, classifier predicates, in ASL. When used as nouns, object and handling handshapes are phonemic – that is, they are specified in dictionary entries and do not vary with grammatical context. In contrast, when used as classifier predicates, object and handling handshapes do vary with grammatical context for bo th morphological and syntactic reasons.
We ask here when young deaf children learning ASL acquire the word class distinction signaled by handshape. Specifically, we determined the age at which children systematically vary object vs. handling handshapes as a function of grammatical context in classifier predicates, but not in the nouns that accompany those predicates.