This proposal describes a research plan to identify the properties of language whose development can withstand wide variations in learning conditions -- the """"""""resilient"""""""" properties of language. Children who have not been exposed to conventional linguistic input will be observed in order to determine which properties of language can be developed by a child under set of degraded input conditions. The subjects of the study are deaf children with hearing losses so severe that they cannot naturally acquire oral language, and born to hearing parents who have not yet exposed them to a manual language. Previous research has shown that, impoverished language-learning conditions, and American deaf child was able to develop a gestural communication system which as structured at both the sentence level (structure across gestures) and the word level (structure within gestures). The proposed research will determine whether deaf children lacking conventional language models in another culture (the Chinese culture) can develop gesture systems that are structured at both the sentence and word levels, i.e., the project will determine the """"""""resilience"""""""" of sentence- and word-level structure in the face of wide cultural variation. Videotapes taken of home observations of ten American and ten Chinese deaf children of hearing parents (ages 1;4 to 6;0) will be transcribed and analyzed for structure at both the sentence and word levels.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Sensory Disorders and Language Study Section (CMS)
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University of Chicago
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Cartmill, Erica A; Rissman, Lilia; Novack, Miriam et al. (2017) The development of iconicity in children's co-speech gesture and homesign. LIA 8:42-68
Brentari, Diane; Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2017) Language Emergence. Annu Rev Linguist 3:363-388
Goldin-Meadow, Susan; Brentari, Diane (2017) Gesture, sign, and language: The coming of age of sign language and gesture studies. Behav Brain Sci 40:e46
Goldin-Meadow, Susan; Yang, Charles (2017) Statistical evidence that a child can create a combinatorial linguistic system without external linguistic input: Implications for language evolution. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 81:150-157
Rissman, Lilia; Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2017) The Development of Causal Structure without a Language Model. Lang Learn Dev 13:286-299
Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2017) What the hands can tell us about language emergence. Psychon Bull Rev 24:213-218
Özçal??kan, ?eyda; Lucero, Ché; Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2016) Does language shape silent gesture? Cognition 148:10-8
Goldin-Meadow, S; Brentari, D; Coppola, M et al. (2015) Watching language grow in the manual modality: nominals, predicates, and handshapes. Cognition 136:381-95
Goldin-Meadow, Susan; Namboodiripad, Savithry; Mylander, Carolyn et al. (2015) The resilience of structure built around the predicate: Homesign gesture systems in Turkish and American deaf children. J Cogn Dev 16:55-80
Ozyürek, Asli; Furman, Reyhan; Goldin-Meadow, Susan (2015) On the way to language: event segmentation in homesign and gesture. J Child Lang 42:64-94

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