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Gestural, signed and spoken modalities in early language development: The role of linguistic input

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2002

Olga Capirci
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychology, National Research Council (CNR), Rome, Italy
Jana M. Iverson
Affiliation:
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, USA
Sandro Montanari
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychology, National Research Council (CNR), Rome, Italy
Virginia Volterra
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychology, National Research Council (CNR), Rome, Italy

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to examine potential effects of early exposure to sign language on the use of communicative gestures by a bilingual hearing child of deaf parents. Data collected monthly during the first two years were analyzed in order to identify types and tokens of communicative gestures, words, and signs and the ways in which they were combined. These data are compared with those obtained from 12 monolingual hearing children observed at 16 and 20 months of age who were exposed only to spoken language. Findings suggest that while exposure to sign language does not seem to provide the bilingual child with an advantage in the rate of early linguistic development, it does appear to influence the extent to which he communicated in the manual modality and made use of its representational and combinatorial potential.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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