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The division of linguistic structure into a meaningless (phonological) level and a meaningful level of morphemes and words is considered a basic design feature of human language. Although established sign languages, like spoken languages, have been shown to be characterized by this bifurcation, no information has been available about the way in which such(More)
The paper examines the role that iconicity plays in the structuring of grammars. Two main points are argued for: (a) Grammar does not necessarily suppress iconicity; rather, iconicity and grammar can enjoy a congenial relation in that iconicity can play an active role in the structuring of grammars. (b) Iconicity is not monolithic. There are different types(More)
Children acquire language without instruction as long as they are regularly and meaningfully engaged with an accessible human language. Today, 80% of children born deaf in the developed world are implanted with cochlear devices that allow some of them access to sound in their early years, which helps them to develop speech. However, because of brain(More)
This report contains a linguistic description of a language created spontaneously without any apparent external influence in a stable existing community. We describe the syntactic structure of Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, a language that has arisen in the last 70 years in an isolated endogamous community with a high incidence of nonsyndromic,(More)
It is possible for a language to emerge with no direct linguistic history or outside linguistic influence. Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL) arose about 70 years ago in a small, insular community with a high incidence of profound prelingual neurosensory deafness. In ABSL, we have been able to identify the beginnings of phonology, morphology, syntax,(More)
Now the Egyptians, before the reign of their king Psammetichus, believed themselves to be the most ancient of mankind. Since Psammetichus, however, made an attempt to discover who were actually the primitive race, they have been of opinion that while they surpass all other nations, the Phrygians surpass them in antiquity. This king, finding it impossible to(More)
Speech sounds within a linguistic system are both categorical and combinatorial and there are constraints on how elements can be recombined. To investigate the origins of this combina-torial structure, we conducted an iterated learning experiment with human participants, studying the transmission of an artificial system of sounds. In this study,(More)