Numerosity and number signs in deaf Nicaraguan adults

Autor/a: FLAHERTY, Molly; SENGHAS, Ann
Año: 2011
Editorial: Cognition, 121(3), 427-436
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos


What abilities are entailed in being numerate? Certainly, one is the ability to hold the exact quantity of a set in mind, even as it changes, and even after its members can no longer be perceived. Is counting language necessary to track and reproduce exact quantities? Previous work with speakers of languages that lack number words involved participants only from non-numerate cultures. Deaf Nicaraguan adults all live in a richly numerate culture, but vary in counting ability, allowing us to experimentally differentiate the contribution of these two factors. Thirty deaf and 10 hearing participants performed 11 one-to-one matching and counting tasks. Results suggest that immersion in a numerate culture is not enough to make one fully numerate. A memorized sequence of number symbols is required, though even an unconventional, iconic system is sufficient. Additionally, we find that within a numerate culture, the ability to track precise quantities can be acquired in adulthood.