The Role of Iconicity in Early Sign Language Acquisition A longitudinal study of sign language acquisition was conducted with 13 very young children (median age 10 months at outset of study) of deaf parents. The children's sign language lexicons were examined for their percentages of iconic signs at two early stages of vocabulary development. Iconic signs are those that ... Reports
Reports  |   August 01, 1984
The Role of Iconicity in Early Sign Language Acquisition
 
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Article Information
Reports   |   August 01, 1984
The Role of Iconicity in Early Sign Language Acquisition
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, August 1984, Vol. 49, 287-292. doi:10.1044/jshd.4903.287
History: Received August 19, 1983 , Accepted June 7, 1984
 
Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, August 1984, Vol. 49, 287-292. doi:10.1044/jshd.4903.287
History: Received August 19, 1983; Accepted June 7, 1984

A longitudinal study of sign language acquisition was conducted with 13 very young children (median age 10 months at outset of study) of deaf parents. The children's sign language lexicons were examined for their percentages of iconic signs at two early stages of vocabulary development. Iconic signs are those that clearly resemble the action, object, or characteristic they represent. Analysis of the subjects' vocabularies revealed that iconic signs comprised 30.8% of the first 10 signs they acquired. At age 18 months, the proportion of iconic signs was found to be 33.7%. The finding that a majority of signs in the subjects' early vocabularies were not iconic suggests that the role of iconicity in young children's acquisition of signs may have been overrated by some investigators, and that other formational features may be of greater importance in influencing young children's ability to acquire signs.

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