RE: [xmca] LCA - Hasan: Words, Meaning, Speech?

From: Kristen R. Clark (
Date: Fri Jul 08 2005 - 12:16:10 PDT

Thanks Marie - I went back and read that paper by Goodwyn/Acredolo and found it interesting (it's online if you'd like a copy - and seems very close to the Swedish studies you mention). Why do you think the visual-manual you mention would emerge before the oral dexterity (I'm sure I'm not describing this correctly) - do the Swedish studies theorize on this point?


-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of Marie Judson
Sent: Thu 7/7/2005 3:38 PM
Subject: RE: [xmca] LCA - Hasan: Words, Meaning, Speech?

Studies in Sweden have shown that infants who are
exposed to signing adults from the earliest detection
of deafness learn to read at an earlier age than
average hearing children. The theory was that visual
manual symbols could be mastered at an earlier age
than oral meaningful units. Also manual signs transfer
cognitively to text more easily. I'll search for my
references on that. It was in the mid-90s that I came
across this literature.


--- "Kristen R. Clark" <> wrote:

> Phil - Thanks for the Painter snippet. It seems to
> me that Painter and Vygotsky make complementary
> claims suggesting that meaning and even the
> beginnings of word meaning develop prior to the
> emergence of individual words and grammar, but the
> question of infant speech and communication is still
> murky. On the Vygotsky quote - Chukovsky's work
> which makes a similar argument to Vygotsky that
> something very wonderful happens around 2 years of
> age.
> Per your colleague's email - it's interesting to
> think about our own experiences with infants in
> relation to the theories we are currently
> addressing. There are seminars here in the states
> that teach parents to introduce signing to their
> young infants but I haven't looked up the
> theoretical underpinnings of "baby sign language"
> until now. I found this article but haven't read it
> yet - Acredolo is from UCDavis I think.
> Goodwyn, S. W. & Acredolo, L. P. (1993). Symbolic
> gesture versus word: Is there a modality advantage
> for onset of symbol use? Child Development , 64,
> 688-701.
> Kristen
> Kristen Radsliff Clark
> Doctoral Candidate
> LCHC and Department of Communication
> University of California, San Diego
> ________________________________________
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of
> Phil Chappell
> Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 4:16 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [xmca] LCA - Hasan: Words, Meaning,
> Speech?
> I sent this earlier and noticed the scan was rather
> large - it didn't go through fortunately. The file
> is now of "un-annoying" size, I hope! Sorry if the
> original turns up later - Phil
> Hi Kristen,
> Can I comment on your first question? I have
> attached a three-page scan from a book by Claire
> Painter who did a longitudinal study of child
> language development in a similar vein to that of
> Michael Halliday's. Painter mentions one of the
> limitations of protolanguage is that the infant's
> signs lack representational and experiential content
> - "the child's inability to refer specifically to
> any 'bit' of outside reality". Painter goes on to
> suggest a first step is to introduce "names" into
> the functional system. Hmm. "Names" Painter seems to
> suggest these are vocabulary items, which the infant
> lacks.
> I wasn't going to paraphrase her discussion (in the
> interests of time), so I'll leave you with the
> couple of pages, as well as the child's
> protolanguage system mapped out for functions,
> meaning options, how they are realised (lots of
> grunts and gurgles ;-) and an interpretation of what
> the child was meaning.
> You ask: "Can we think of protolinguistic children
> as "having words/word meaning" but not speech and
> whether/how "having speech" might be different for
> our understanding of the debate?" According to
> Painter and Halliday, no, although come to think of
> it, after reading the Painter snippet, what is
> "having speech" for the infant?
> Vygotsky wrote: "It is essential that the
> development of speech occurs independently of
> thinking and thinking develops independently of the
> development of children's speech, but at a certain
> instant, both meet. At approximately the age of two,
> the child experiences a burgeoning of his
> vocabulary, its active extension, after which there
> is a phase of questions: "What is this? What do you
> call this?"
> What do you think?
> Phil
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Marie Judson
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Communication
UCSD, Mailcode 0503

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