Chapter

Getting to the Point

Ann Senghas and Marie Coppola

in Deaf around the World

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199732548
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866359 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0007
Getting to the Point

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This chapter pays particular attention to the contribution of generations of child learners, who actively change their language as they inherit it. The researchers consider the fact that over the past thirty years, deaf Nicaraguans have come together to form a community, and in the process created their own new language. The deaf children started with a variety of gestures, called homesigns, to communicate with their families. Together they developed them into the complex linguistic system that is Nicaraguan Sign Language today. The researchers follow this process by focusing on a single sign, the humble point, as it transformed from a gesture into a linguistic device.

Keywords: sign language linguistics; language creation; homesigns; gestures; point; Nicaraguan Sign Language

Chapter.  6543 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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