The social context of early sign language development

Autor/a: HARRIS, Margaret; CLIBBENS, John; CHASIN, Joan; TIBBITT, Ruth
Año: 1989
Editorial: First language Vol. 9, nº 25 (1989) pp. 81-97
Tipo de código: DOI
Código: 10.1177/014272378900
Soporte: Digital


Educación, Educación » Adquisición y desarrollo del lenguaje


This paper is concerned with the strategies used by deaf mothers to ensure that their deaf infants are able to perceive both the signs addressed to them and the nonverbal contexts to which these signs relate. Four mother-child pairs were studied and observations were made when the children were aged between 7 and 20 months. A detailed analysis of the relationship between the mother's signing, the child's pattern of attention, and the nonverbal context of the signing revealed that a high proportion of signs were seen by the children and that, by 20 months of age, the majority of signs also had a nonverbal context which was salient for the child. There were general similarities in the pattern of strategies employed by the mothers to relate their signs to the nonverbal context but there were also interesting differ ences. The possible relationship of these differences to the children's sign language development is discussed in the light of the children's own sign production at two years of age.