Children Creating Language: How Nicaraguan Sign Language Acquired a Spatial Grammar

  title={Children Creating Language: How Nicaraguan Sign Language Acquired a Spatial Grammar},
  author={Ann Senghas and Marie Coppola},
  journal={Psychological Science},
  pages={323 - 328}
It has long been postulated that language is not purely learned, but arises from an interaction between environmental exposure and innate abilities. The innate component becomes more evident in rare situations in which the environment is markedly impoverished. The present study investigated the language production of a generation of deaf Nicaraguans who had not been exposed to a developed language. We examined the changing use of early linguistic structures (specifically, spatial modulations… Expand
Intergenerational influence and ontogenetic development in the emergence of spatial grammar in Nicaraguan Sign Language
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A new sign language has been created by deaf Nicaraguans over the past 25 years, providing an opportunity to observe the inception of universal hallmarks of language. We found that in their initialExpand
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Grammatical Subjects in home sign: Abstract linguistic structure in adult primary gesture systems without linguistic input.
  • M. Coppola, E. Newport
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2005
It is shown that home signers also demonstrate the universal characteristics of Subjects in their gesture productions, despite the fact that their communicative systems have developed without exposure to a conventional language. Expand
The Emergence of Two Functions for Spatial Devices in Nicaraguan Sign Language
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Input and Language Acquisition : A Comparison of Native and Non-Native Signers
Young hearing children with no prior exposure to Sign Language and with minimal relative linguistic experience were found to produce signs equivalent in complexity to those of hearing adults, therefore potentially providing further support for an innate understanding of complex linguistic rules. Expand
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The data reported in this series of studies confirm that deaf children lacking a conventional linguistic input can develop a gestural communication system that shows some of the structural regularities characteristic of early child language. Expand
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The results support the conclusion that a critical period for language acquisition extends its effects to second language acquisition. Expand
The acquisition of a second language.
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Differences can be demonstrated between the cerebral function of the children who learn a second language at an early age and those who do this when they are older, and also between those who acquire a high degree of fluency and Those who never do. Expand
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Children's contribution to the birth of Nicaraguan sign language
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