Chapter

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195163483.003.0005
 Gesture, Sign, and Grammar

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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

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