Gesture, Sign, and Grammar

David F. Armstrong and Sherman E. Wilcox

in The Gestural Origin of Language

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780195163483
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199867523 | DOI:
 Gesture, Sign, and Grammar

Show Summary Details


This chapter presents evidence from several signed languages for the emergence of grammar from the words (signs) of these languages. It details how signed words develop out of non-words — out of gesture by the same fundamental processes. This is the advantage that the study of signed languages uniquely offers — one can observe as new languages actually emerge, as, for example, in the case of Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL). The emergence of language is linked to a process long studied in the evolution of animal behaviour — the process of ritualization.

Keywords: sign language; non-words; evolution; animal behaviour; ritualization; cognition

Chapter.  12438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.