You are here: Home Publications Phonological development in hearing learners of a sign language: The role of sign complexity and iconicity

Phonological development in hearing learners of a sign language: The role of sign complexity and iconicity

Ortega, G., & Morgan, G. (2015). Phonological development in hearing learners of a sign language: The role of sign complexity and iconicity. Language Learning, 65(3), 660-668. doi:10.1111/lang.12123.
The present study implemented a sign-repetition task at two points in time to hearing adult learners of British Sign Language and explored how each phonological parameter, sign complexity, and iconicity affected sign production over an 11-week (22-hour) instructional period. The results show that training improves articulation accuracy and that some sign components are produced more accurately than others: Handshape was the most difficult, followed by movement, then orientation, and finally location. Iconic signs were articulated less accurately than arbitrary signs because the direct sign-referent mappings and perhaps their similarity with iconic co-speech gestures prevented learners from focusing on the exact phonological structure of the sign. This study shows that multiple phonological features pose greater demand on the production of the parameters of signs and that iconicity interferes in the exact articulation of their constituents
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn