Prof. dr. Diane Lillo-Martin, department of Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Connecticut
American Sign Language pronouns and their acquisition
Diane Lillo-Martin is the guest speaker at this ACLC seminar, the title and abstract of this lecture are now available.
Pointing is a ubiquitous activity that humans engage in from a very young age. For this reason, the analyses of index finger pointing in sign languages and the development of these points in signing children has been a matter of great interest and some controversy. Traditionally, pointing is interpreted as pronominal in sign languages such as American Sign Language (ASL); however, differences are noted between pointing signs and pronouns, which have led some to consider the signs to be a mixture of linguistic and gestural. Here we report new data on asymmetries in the emergence of pointing in Deaf signing children, hearing bimodal bilingual children, and hearing non-signers. These data show that children do not treat all points the same, and they contribute to reconsideration of the analysis of pointing and its role in the pronominal system of ASL.
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