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Deaf around the WorldThe Impact of Language$
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Gaurav Mathur and Donna Jo Napoli

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 November 2019

Getting to the Point

Getting to the Point

How a Simple Gesture Became a Linguistic Element in Nicaraguan Signing

Chapter:
(p.127) Chapter 4 Getting to the Point
Source:
Deaf around the World
Author(s):

Ann Senghas

Marie Coppola

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0007

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

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