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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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Acquisition of Topicalization in Very Late Learners of Libras

Acquisition of Topicalization in Very Late Learners of Libras

Degrees of Resilience in Language

Chapter:
(p.164) Chapter 5 Acquisition of Topicalization in Very Late Learners of Libras
Source:
Deaf around the World
Author(s):

Sandra K. Wood

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0009

This chapter describes the necessary ingredients for learning language, asking what degree of competency is possible for a homesigner when they acquire sign language late, with different amounts of linguistic input. Homesigners, late learners of Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS), and native signers are compared on tasks testing competence in topicalization, a construction hypothesized to be acquired only after exposure to the target language. Differences are markedly apparent with respect to age and amount of exposure to LIBRAS, as expected. However, this study is of great import not just to linguistics but to applications in language teaching since it shows that, given proper input, functional mastery of a language can be achieved after the critical period for language acquisition has passed.

Keywords:   sign language linguistics, homesigners, language acquisition, Brazilian Sign Language, topicalization, language teaching

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