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About the book:

This pack encourages the reader to consider the young child's signed language acquisition and subsequent reading development. It proposes that theories of language acquisition and reading development must account for signed languages to understand the universal, the modality-specific, and the language-specific characteristics of language acquisition and the learning mechanisms that account for reading. Theories of language acquisition and reading have traditionally been derived from studies of spoken language and unintentionally excluded signed languages. This produces theoretical principles based on the psycholinguistic mechanisms related to hearing and the articulation of speech, principles that do not necessarily apply to seeing and the gesticulation of signs. By presenting a new set of signed language studies for consideration, this book advances language, research and theory. "Language Acquisition by Eye" is written in two parts, anchored in the toddler phase and the school-pupil phase. The development path between these two phases trace out the routes that deaf children follow from one to the other. Many critical landmarks occur along the way - achievements of morphological, syntactic and pragmatic master - all in the framework of the oral-visual modality and the special typological characteristics of sign language. Part 1 deals with the role of hand and eye in the signing of mothers and the perception and early acquisition of such signs by their babies. Part 2 takes us ahead to the time when signing children are faced with the task of acquiring another visual symbolic system - that is, the mastery of literacy in the national language of the country. In all, this book is part of a continuing international endeavour to more deeply understand the structure and functions of sign language, as well as the processing connections between the signed language and the spoken language with which it corresponds.

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