ERIC Number: ED150868
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: 0
Language Acquisition Patterns in Two Normal Children of Deaf Parents.
Bard, Barbara; Sachs, Jacqueline S.
This paper describes the linguistic development of two hearing sons of deaf parents. Both were exposed to an early language environment different from that of the average hearing child. At the start of the study, the boys were aged 3 years, 9 months, and 1 year, 8 months, respectively. When first observed, the older child performed well below age level in all aspects of language on standardized tests. In addition, he exhibited complete lack of affect in his speech and an idiosyncratic syntactic structure. Within a month of conversational sessions with an adult, there was marked improvement in this child's expressive abilities. At age 4 years, 2 months, most of the idiosyncratic patterns had been replaced by structures typical for that age. At 10 years, he is signing well, although at the start of the study he did not sign at all. The younger boy used no speech at the beginning of the investigation, but had his brother as a linguistic model, and at no time did he demonstrate the deviant structures used by the older boy. At 3 years, 8 months, the age at which the older boy had been first examined, the younger boy was functioning normally in terms of both expressive and receptive skills. Implications of these case studies include: (1) an environment that is much less than optimum may be sufficient for a child to acquire syntactic patterns; (2) in the absence of tailored input, children invent ways of expressing what they want to say; and (3) quantity of input is not the only factor in language acquisition - quality of input, in this case personal vs. impersonal input, is perhaps the most significant. (AM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Deaf Parents
Note: Paper presented at the annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (2nd, Boston, Massachusetts, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 1977)