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Course Overview

Modern linguistic theory, traditionally based on research conducted on spoken languages, has benefited greatly from recent linguistic investigation of sign languages. Findings of similarities between spoken and sign languages reaffirm their equivalent status as fully natural languages, while differences point to areas where existing theory must be expanded. This course introduces students to the acquisition of ASL as a first language by deaf children and the unique contributions this research makes to general theories of language development. As background preparation, we will begin with a broad overview of important milestones in the acquisition of spoken language by hearing children. This will be followed by a short discussion on the effects of modality (oral/aural vs. gestural/visual) on the acquisition process. The remaining two-thirds of the class will be devoted to language development in the gestural/visual modality. Readings and lectures will center on the acquisition of phonology and selected syntactic phenomena, including nonmanuals and questions. The course will end with a discussion of delayed exposure to sign language and its effects on acquisition, a topic of great importance to the field of Deaf education.

Prerequisite: LIN 670

Program: Linguistics

Credit: 1

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