Chapter published in:Sources of Variation in First Language Acquisition: Languages, contexts, and learners
Edited by Maya Hickmann †, Edy Veneziano and Harriet Jisa
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 22] 2018
► pp. 365–390
Motion expression in children’s acquisition of French Sign Language
Much research has examined the development of motion expression, but little is known about this domain in sign language. This study examines how signers (Deaf children aged 5–10 and adults) of French Sign Language (LSF) described clips showing voluntary motion events with variable Paths and Manners. Using mainly iconic structures, children frequently expressed both Path and Manner early on. However, responses varied with the structures used and increased with age for some event types (downward motion, boundary crossing). In addition, serial constructions increased, typically expressing two perspectives (observer and character). Finally, young children did not always provide relevant locative information (particularly with crossing events) but these cases decreased. In conclusion, iconicity partially invites signers to combine motion components, notwithstanding variation in structure and developmental changes observed with some event types.
Keywords: development of motion expression, classifier construction, constructed action, deaf children, French Sign Language (LSF), iconicity, serial construction, transfer
Published online: 22 February 2018
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