ERIC Number: EJ1071763
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 48
Manual Activity and Onset of First Words in Babies Exposed and Not Exposed to Baby Signing
Seal, Brenda C.; DePaolis, Rory A.
Sign Language Studies, v14 n4 p444-465 Sum 2014
Support for baby signing (BS) with hearing infants tends to converge toward three camps or positions. Those who advocate BS to advance infant language, literacy, behavioral, and cognitive development rely heavily on anecdotal evidence and social media to support their claims. Those who advocate BS as an introduction to another language, such as American Sign Language (ASL), advocate early bilingual language learning. A third group warns against BS, emphasizing that it competes for attention with, and thereby potentially delays, spoken language acquisition in hearing infants. Empirical evidence to support any of these camps has been scarce. In this retrospective investigation we analyzed videotapes of sixteen infants from 9 through 18 months of age; eight had been exposed to BS, and eight had not been exposed to signing (NS). We compared their manual activity and found no differences in the quantity of manual activity accompanying vocal activity and no qualitative differences in the handshapes used during manual and vocal activity. More babies in the BS group reached the 4-, 10-, and 25-word milestones than babies in the NS group, but the differences were not statistically significant. In addition, monthly lexical growth from 12 to 18 months did not reveal signing to have a statistical impact on vocabulary acquisition.
Descriptors: Infants, Sign Language, Bilingualism, Language Research, Video Technology, Literacy, Cognitive Development, Second Language Learning, Delayed Speech, Hearing (Physiology), Comparative Analysis, Manual Communication, Vocabulary Development, Native Speakers, Statistical Analysis, Longitudinal Studies, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom