ERIC Number: ED162523
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Emergence of Semantic Relations in ASL. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, No. 13.
Newport, Elissa L.; Ashbrook, Elizabeth F.
This report is a cross-linguistic study that compares the sequence of emergence of semantic relations in English with the sequence of emergence of these relations in the acquisition of American Sign Language. American Sign Language (ASL) differs from English in modality (it is a visual-gesture language rather than an auditory-vocal one) and in the syntactic devices used for expressing many of the semantic relations examined in this study. While some semantic relations in adult ASL are produced very much as they are in English, others, most notably location, instrument, and dative, are signed by lexicalizing the verb and its arguments together. It is suggested that such syntactic differences between English and ASL could interact with semantic or conceptual complexity in determining the sequence in which relations are acquired by the child. The subjects are five deaf children of deaf parents who are learning ASL as their native language. It is found that the emergence of the semantic relations in a visual-gestural language is roughly the same as that in an auditory-vocal language, despite the striking differences of syntactic devices in the two model languages. (Author/NCR)
Descriptors: American Sign Language, Child Language, Communication Skills, Comparative Analysis, Concept Formation, Contrastive Linguistics, Deafness, Difficulty Level, English, Handicapped Children, Language Acquisition, Language Research, Language Usage, Longitudinal Studies, Manual Communication, Preschool Children, Research, Semantics, Sociolinguistics, Speech Communication, Syntax
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.