The Pointing Behavior of Deaf and Hearing Mothers in the Course of Their Infants' Signed/Spoken Language Acquisition

Autor/a: FUKS, Orit
Año: 2022
Editorial: Sign Language Studies, 22: 3, 520-541
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación » Familia y Atención temprana, Educación » Adquisición y desarrollo del lenguaje


This longitudinal pilot study examined the pointing behavior of two Israeli Deaf mothers and one hearing mother over the course of their infant's signed/spoken language acquisition. Three aspects were analyzed: (a) frequency of use; (b) function; and (c) pointing form. The findings indicated that the Deaf mothers used pointing more frequently than the hearing mother, but pointing was produced by all mothers to denote present referents and locations and to complement messages conveyed in speech/signing. All three mothers consistently used hand and handshape pointing, though only the Deaf mothers used the Israeli Sign Language (ISL) handshape for possessives. The duration of the Deaf mothers' pointing varied during the study period. The findings suggest that pointing gradually becomes sign-like units used by the Deaf mothers and changes according to their infants' growing communicative abilities. In contrast, the form of the hearing caregiver's pointing remains steady, as well as the reinforcement-complementary role it plays alongside speech. The results illustrate the significance of parental modifications in the course of their infants' signed/spoken language acquisition as a model that can help children learn new forms, functions, and structures.