Hand Gestures Boost Spoken and Signed Language Learning Spontaneous gestures can help children learn language—whether spoken or signed—according to a report published Sept. 19 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Author Susan Goldin-Meadow—the Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in the University of Chicago Department of Psychology—examined how gesturing contributes to language-learning in hearing and in deaf ... Research in Brief
Free
Research in Brief  |   November 01, 2014
Hand Gestures Boost Spoken and Signed Language Learning
Author Notes
Article Information
Development / Hearing Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   November 01, 2014
Hand Gestures Boost Spoken and Signed Language Learning
The ASHA Leader, November 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.19112014.14
The ASHA Leader, November 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.19112014.14
Spontaneous gestures can help children learn language—whether spoken or signed—according to a report published Sept. 19 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
Author Susan Goldin-Meadow—the Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in the University of Chicago Department of Psychology—examined how gesturing contributes to language-learning in hearing and in deaf children. “Children who can hear use gesture along with speech to communicate as they acquire spoken language,” she says. “Those gesture-plus-word combinations precede and predict the acquisition of word combinations that convey the same notions. The findings make it clear that children have an understanding of these notions before they are able to express them in speech.”
The findings also suggest gesture plays a role in learning for signers even though it is in the same communication modality as sign. Therefore, gesture doesn’t aid learners simply by providing a second modality—rather, gesture adds imagery to the categorical distinctions that form the core of both spoken and sign languages.
Goldin-Meadow also studied children who learned sign language from their parents. She found that they, too, use gestures as they use American Sign Language. These gestures predict learning, just like the gestures that accompany speech.
Finally, Goldin-Meadow looked at children whose hearing losses prevented them from learning spoken language, and whose hearing parents had not presented them with conventional sign language. These children use homemade gesture systems—called “homesign”—to communicate. Homesign shares properties with natural languages but is not a full-blown language. Nevertheless, Goldin-Meadow writes, homesign can be the “first step toward an established sign language.”
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
November 2014
Volume 19, Issue 11