publication . Article . Other literature type . 1991

The long-lasting advantage of learning sign language in childhood: Another look at the critical period for language acquisition

Mayberry, Rachel I.; Eichen, Ellen B.;
  • Published: 01 Aug 1991 Journal: Journal of Memory and Language, volume 30, pages 486-512 (issn: 0749-596X, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
Abstract We find the long-range outcome of sign language acquisition to depend upon when it first occurs. Subjects were 49 deaf signers who had used sign language for an average of 42 years but first acquired it at ages ranging from birth to 13. Subjects recalled signed digits and sentences presented at two rates, normal and 68% faster. Age of acquisition showed significant effects at all levels of linguistic structure, with the greatest effects being at the level of sentence meaning. Age of acquisition did not influence digit recall and sign production; rate had negligible effects. The results show that the childhood advantage for language acquisition is not un...
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